following my compass in that direction…
(via cigarettesandgypsies)Source: phl0x
There are some seeds that have been planted in us at such an early age that we may never come to realize that they were even planted until well after our adolescent years. I know this in part of my friend Nova, unknowingly to me at the time, doing a research paper on me for one of her grad school courses about how I defied Erikson’s Stages of Development. I guess I should find it flattering to be the subject of a study?
Just because we have failed to recognize that those seeds were planted doesn’t mean that they haven’t been cultivated through experiences, conversations, ideas and literature. There are some experiences in life that will attempt to keep us from reaching our potential, but that is why I believe in a Divine Being that blesses us with people that show us that our hearts, bodies and minds are beautiful and should not be restrained by limits.
As a child I found to be my grandfather, Andy, to be a hero, leader, mentor, role model, an inspiration. I simply revered the man.
Grandpa Andy, being a military man, was strong and brave. Being a Christian, he was kindhearted and honorable. My grandfather was a part of my life for a brief 17 years, but had such a profound impact on the person that I would become and shape the values that I would hold dear.
I could be a stubborn child at times and would enjoy arguing with family members. I always had to be right. I lacked humility and failed to admit when I was wrong. My grandfathers strengths were listening, patience and being a great counselor.
My grandfather loved when I would question authority, but he would instill the value of inquiry in me simply by responding, “Jonathan, go read a book!” Andy continued to press inquiry on me by communicating the importance of the education he would never receive. He would teach me humility. He would teach me that education was infinite. At that age I simply did not get it.
Andy took on the role of a scholar in my life by sharing his experiences of traveling the world during his time in the US Army, by always being engaged in a book or article, and by challenging my questions with questions of his own.
At a young age, I valued inquiry and learned the importance of a higher education, but there was something different about the way that those seeds were planted and in the way they were cultivated throughout my life.
To me, education would become more than receiving good grades (grades need to be earned not received, by the way), it was about expanding my knowledge, the life of the mind. To me, education was more than a means of establishing myself and finding a career so that I could provide for myself, and eventually a family. Life would become more than measuring oneself by a GPA, title, or salary, it would become about the pursuit of knowledge and living honorably.
As a college student, the seeds were there, but were still being cultivated. My three-pound-finite-mind still did not “get it”.
These seeds were planted at such an early age and it wasn’t until recent history that I realized I was being cultivated to be an educator and a life-long student.
After Andy, there would be Damien, Steven, Kristin, Amy, Nova, Kyle, Drew, Jessica, Matthew, Emilie, David, Rosanna, Jessa, Mary and many many more that will always inspire and impress the hell out of my by the way they live out their Personal Legends.
People are important, and although we many never always agree, or like each other, we are important to each other.
Well into my twenties, I recall being surrounded by lampposts that were tinted in various colors. The display was eerie, yet, peaceful. In that moment, I could feel what I could only describe as a presence long absent that was taking on the form of honor and inquiry. I felt as though I acquired that child-like faith that the youthful argumentative Jonathan once had.
I remember feeling this presence once again as fireworks, accompanied by a beautiful musical score, set the Southeast Portland sky ablaze.
My grandfather would have been proud, because for whatever reason those fireworks set something off in my head that I would never allow myself to forget (similar to the moment when a tearful John Locke, in his darkest hour, desperately pounds on the lid of the hatch until a light illuminates from its window, a light that would rekindle a faith deep within Locke, a light that he would never allow himself to forget).
In that moment, I got it.