As much as we might try to live our lives to the (hopefully high) standards we set for ourselves, it is perhaps our weak moments that expose and define us. In one such weak moment I succumbed to Sandy’s MAWB Squad “interview me” invitation. I may have done this thinking it’s a good idea to ingratiate one’s self to the future rulers of the planet, but in the interim I rather hoped this indiscretion might fade away unnoticed. Not only was this hope in vain, I see now that the first three questions are not in the vein of “What is your name? What is your quest? What is your favorite color?”
Well nothing to it now but to do it, and realize that some people pay a lot of money to talk about their inner secrets, and this is free. If you, dear reader, would like to take a similar challenge, see the information at the end of this post and help keep this meme going.
1. Pick a country, any country, to emigrate to for a year. What country did you pick and why? Given the opportunity would you make the move? Could you convince your family to do it?
Someplace in the tropics sounds good on this rainy, 30-degree day in May, but then I really don’t care for humidity and insects. I have long had a romantic notion, however, of having a smallish croft in Scotland, located on a promontory over the North Sea. I see myself tramping through the heather wearing a tweed coat or wooly sweater with a shawl collar and with a black dog romping nearby, then retiring to a snug stone cottage (complete with broadband and satellite tv so I can pick up ESPN) to read, write, meditate and see what the four seasons are like in this place. This fantasy usually involves someone sending me to this place for a year to write, just to see what may come out, so if this opportunity were offered I may have to take it.
Unfortunately, I’d probably have to do this alone since my Minnesota born and bred wife, who struggles daily to keep warm, has said she wants to spend the last half of her life in a warm climate (a challenge that is also starting to take on an actuarial aspect), and coastal Scotland doesn’t fit that requirement. As for my daughters, the giftings in their lives would make such isolation an injustice to them and to the world. Still, if only for a year, ….
2. What do you fear and why do you fear it? What helps you to cope with your fear?
“Fear is the belief that something you cannot see will come to pass.
“Faith is the belief that something you cannot see will come to pass.”
For years I have remembered that whenever stresses and uncertainties have piled up (usually as a result of my own actions or inactions), and focused on the faithful expectation that whatever occurs, God will take care of me and my family and if I rely on Jesus Christ then no weapon formed against me may prosper. The immediate or short-term circumstances may not be to my liking, but Father, Son and Holy Spirit will make a way.
In more recent years I have come to a deeper revelation that the opposite of fear is not faith, but love. Not just knowing that I am loved, but that my love for others can help me overcome whatever fears and sacrifices may present themselves – and no, my enemy cannot threaten me with Heaven. (I was especially delighted to see that author Steven Pressfield came to the same revelation in his book “Gates of Fire.”)
3. Name a song that holds a special meaning for you and explain why you chose it. What event or time in your life does it remind you of?
This is simple: “Solsbury Hill” by Peter Gabriel. I was in college the first time I heard it and it was evocative in a way that I couldn’t put my finger on. I didn’t understand the words, imagery or what he was talking about, but it always stirred me whenever I heard it then or over the years. Some time later, when my faith was newly restored and I faced the daunting challenge of trying to live in two worlds, I heard the song again and the meaning finally lept out at me:
To keep in silence I resigned
My friends would think I was a nut
Turning water into wine
Open doors would soon be shut
So I went from day to day
Though my life was in a rut
Till I thought of what I’d say
And which connection I should cut
I was feeling part of the scenery
I walked right out of the machinery
My heart going boom, boom, boom
“Son,” he said, “grab your things I’ve come to take you home.”
The earlier, mysterious appeal of the song became a confirmation to me that there had been a plan for my life all along, even if I was slow in picking up on it. Then, I understood:
So I will show another me
Today I don’t need a replacement
I’ll tell them what the smile on my face meant
My heart going boom, boom, boom
“Hey,” I said, “you can keep my things they’ve come to take me home.”
4. From Bernard Pivot’s quiz, made famous in the U.S. by James Lipton of the Actor’s Studio: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? What profession would you not like to do?
I get paid for being a writer in my day job, but most of what I write anymore are e-mails. The thought of being compensated for more artistic compositions has some appeal. I have often thought, however, that if my life hadn’t of turned the way it did after high school, or even after college, that I would have liked to go into the Coast Guard.
A Midwesterner all my life, the ocean is a powerful draw for me and nearly hypnotizes me when I’m near it. I like the idea of having the training and equipment to help people in distress, to know what to do in extreme situations, and to have a good reason to contend respectfully against great natural forces.
I would not want a job that requires getting my hands slimy.
5. You get to be dictator for a week. In this week, you have the power to make five changes in the world. The leaders and the people must obey your decisions. What five changes would you make to improve the world?
a. Equal opportunity, but not equal outcomes.
b. Freedom of religion, not from religion, in the public square.
c. Everyone shall act justly.
d. Everyone shall love mercy.
e. Everyone shall walk humbly with your God.
Bonus: What embarrassing thing would your spouse, parents, or kids tell us about you?
Earplugs are useful.
Here’s what to do if you want to play:
1. Leave a comment saying “interview me”. The first five commenters will be the participants.
2. I will respond by asking you five questions.
3. You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions. Not to leave anyone out, if you don’t have a blog I can interview you by e-mail and post your responses on my blog.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.