Aug 172014

We’re in a message series on leadership at my church right now. This morning, David preached on what it means to be an example, and how we shouldn’t look at things in terms of tit-for-tat as often as we do. “No quid pro quo” was the phrase that appeared on one of his slides.

It reminded me very much of a situation at work maybe six years ago. Now I have a very strict policy about not blogging about my job, and I’m not going to get too far into the ins and outs of this situation at all. Essentially it was a opportunity I recognized and cultivated to help someone near the end of her rope. She was about to give up. I sat with her and we talked at some length about why she shouldn’t. She ultimately recovered the situation, following my advice, and turned it into long-term happiness.

She never acknowledged to me later that I’d helped her. I let that bother me for a long time. Then God clocked me in the melon with it one afternoon. He said, basically, “All right, enough. Did you help her so she’d tell you what a great guy you were? Or did you help her because it was what you should do as a member of My kingdom?”

I ultimately reconciled with myself that the blessing—all of the blessing—was being able to help.

Full stop.

It seems so elementary when I type it now. For a while, though, the resentment was real. She’d have almost certainly made a major professional mistake had I not intervened that morning. How dare she not appreciate that?


How dare I not bask in the glory of embracing the opportunity to make a genuine difference?

I didn’t understand that it wasn’t a transaction. It was over when I helped.

Its completion is not contingent on me spiking the ball.

 Posted by at 9:25 pm
Aug 122014

Oh, wow. I don’t even know how to process this. I thought Michael Jackson was hard.

There are some people who, when they go, they take all of what defined them with them. And all of the Robin Williamsness in the world has been unceremoniously ripped down like a homecoming dance backdrop on Saturday morning.


Robin Williams with a microphone. Like Thor with Mjolnir.

We’ve sodomized the word genius to the point that it doesn’t mean much in casual conversation, but reach back with me to what it used to mean. Robin Williams was one of those kinds of geniuses. I mean, I hate to start naming things I loved about him, because that invariably minimizes someone of his magnitude. Undisputed king of improv, never to be deposed? Check. Oscar-winning master of drama, capable of a full range of evocation from tender to terrifying? Check. Anything artistic I ever saw asked of him? Check.

(Name a Robin Williams dud. Whether you have five seconds or five years, your list will look the same. Want to see it? Look at the ceiling.)

And just in case I wasn’t clear above, I’m not going to name specific works, because there are too many.

I say this not because I believe it’s true, but because it’s one of the greatest compliments I ever received. When I was in college, someone told me at a party that I reminded her of Robin Williams in the way my mind worked, and how quickly I could retort. I was blown away to have drawn such a comparison. I sort of understood it, because sometimes I can unclench enough to let my mind run unchecked stream of consciousness and follow the connections at kind of a meta-level.

But it’s still not anything like breaking down a Robin Williams stream. On a post-examination, I can see where the chains are and how he came up with them, but I’m still truly astonished at how quickly everything fired for him. That circuitry in the brain of Robin Williams ran at double- or triple-time. At my best, I can capture some of “semi-competent hack.”

I’m so sad that his demons were ultimately too much for him. God be with his friends and family. RIP.

 Posted by at 7:00 am
Aug 012014

There is nothing in the world like getting kicked in the balls. It’s not just the pain, though that is certainly memorable. The defining characteristic is that it’s reliably delayed. When you get a solid shot to the crotch, it doesn’t hurt right away. But you know it’s going to be excruciating in three seconds. [...]

 Posted by at 6:30 am is using WP-Gravatar