Again, social media has proven itself infinitely valuable. From one of my Facebook friends to another, with the simple question, “Wanna
Yeah baby! THAT’S the way to start a letter! Alright, mystery guy who sent me a personal letter just to me, for me only. You had me at hello. What’s the deal? Why am I receiving this 8 page single spaced invitation to join your secret society? Could it be that my entire life is going to be bigger and better from this point on? Could this be the BEST DAY of my life??
“Down deep, you sense it, too. Right? I’m so excited for you!”
Apparently, there’s this (shhhh…) “Secret Society” that handpicks it’s members. Special people with exceptional qualities that you don’t possess. But I guess, I do! As this letter was personally signed by “John,” I’m pretty sure sure it’s legit. Otherwise I may have stopped reading after the first paragraph… but this just seems too legit to quit!
“By the way, as you read this, you may be saying to yourself that this is all just a bunch of hooey. But I swear on the Bible we will send you our greatest kept secrets free of charge.”
Alright. That seals it. You swore on the Bible. This is the best ever.
“Like me, the day you receive this secret package, Joshua, will be the luckiest day of your life! It will be the most important event that will ever happen to you.”
I’m going crazy right now. I thought the luckiest day of my life was the day Amy agreed to marry me… or maybe my wedding day. She actually said “I do!” I know! What was she thinking? THAT was lucky. I thought the most important event in my life was the day Jesus Christ wrote my name in His Book of Life, securing my identity in His family and giving me hope and a purpose for eternity. But apparently, this secret package I’m going to receive is going to top that. * insert maniacal laughter here… *
“Does this sound too good to be true? WELL… IT IS TRUE!!”
I told you. Capital letters and TWO exclamation points. John is not messing around. He’s sincere. This is real.
“Be honest: have you ever felt like God or some higher power may be communicating with you, giving you a sign? IF you answered yes, and we know you did, then you are indeed that special person we are looking for. And this is your calling. It’s as simple as that.”
OK… now I’m a little confused. Yes, I talk with God all the time. I thought I was called to be the best husband and dad I can be. And recently I felt His clear guidance to enter Seminary. I thought THAT was my calling. But John says I’m supposed to join this secret society. “It’s as simple as that.” Whaddayagonnado?
OK, John, I’m ready. Because of this awe-inspiring letter, I’m ready to chuck my common sense and thousands of years of Biblical wisdom under the bus for your mysterious secret club. Just tell me I’ll be able to acheive supernatural powers to gain wealth and manipulate those around me…
“Learn how to transfer all money, power, prestige from the uninformed to you… instantly.”
Good. Good. Go on…
“Learn how to control anyone, man or woman, anywhere.”
Ooooo. Anyone? What are the romantic implications here?
“Learn how to win any lover in any situation. All the women you’ve ever wanted can come to you easily, effortlessly, and automatically.”
Wait. All the women I want? Well, I already have that. Her name is Amy. So that’s a wash. But the rest of this sounds so awesome… almost spiritual. Like there’s an invisible spiritual force available to me… if I just let go of this God stuff I’ve built my life upon. Up until now. Check THIS out!
“Learn how to make your new powers render all others helpless.”
Yessss. I like. More. MORE!
“Learn how to be constantly and invisibly armed so that any person trying deception or cheating ploys against you instantly becomes powerless and at your mercy.”
Oh I like that “at your mercy” part. I’ll be FILLED with another power… greater than me… I won’t even have to THINK about it. This isn’t creepy at all!
“With the simple, easy to apply techniques, you’ll be virtually on auto-pilot. Your new powers will be used unconsciously and effortlessly!”
C’mon people! Surely you can see the allure here. Before I knew I had been chosen to lord my new powers over you, I might have said that what brings meaning to life is a rich, interactive relationship with God, meaningful work, and deep thriving relationships with family and friends. Thank goodness I received this letter. It’s all about money, power, and romantic love, baby!
I’m going to gain the whole world…
“why i don’t need god anymore :: the greatest letter of all time” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
This is pretty much a documentary on my life, with the following exceptions:
(1) We have BOYS. No girls. And our ninja warrior princess puppy doesn’t count.
(2) No hydrangeas. I’m such a bad gardener, I killed a ficus tree once. (That’s right. A FAKE tree. Killed it.)
(3) I don’t have that awesome lawn mower. I WANT that awesome lawn mower.
Have a fantastic Fourth of July weekend with your family, all you dads. Try not to blow off any important digits as you play with your fireworks. You know what I’m talking about.
“it’s the dad life :: embarrassingly accurate” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Huge thanks to my friend Paula Coyle for making my day with this gem. And just for context, here’s the original by Jason Mraz. Great tune…
Q: “What’s the speed limit in outer space?” A: (say it with me…) “WIDE OPEN, just like your ZIPPER!”
OK, maybe it’s just me (and my dad… and my 3rd Grader) who has an inner 3rd Grader. But last Friday, in my dapper dress for my corporate office job, I noticed it seemed a bit… drafty. * Pause… Yep. That’s what I’m saying. *
So I realized my unfortunate state of (un)dress not long after taking a meandering walk through the halls of our office building, talking to, well… at least 9 people. I counted. Because you would too, right? We have the moment of discovery, and it is immediately followed by a shot of adrenaline and a mental checklist of all the people you have recently interacted with in the last 15 minutes. All of them fall into one of two categories at this point: either “none-the-wiser” or “enablers.”
That’s it. At this point, either you’re with me or against me, so to speak. Either you DIDN’T notice I was letting my freak flag fly, or you DID… in which case, you let me carry on my walk of shame, oblivious to my own gravitationally challenged zipper. Thanks a lot.
I mentioned my predicament on Facebook in an effort to rally moral support. And because my inner 3rd Grader thought it was funny. And I got a comment back that caught my attention…
“You find out real quick who your real friends are. Personally the one time I had that particular wardrobe malfunction, I had a friend who told me right away. I am thankful for friends who will cross the awkward to let you know.”
And there it was. My daily dose of relational insight. We need real friends who are willing to “cross the awkward” for us. And this is where my zipper becomes a metaphor.
We all have a circle of relationships that never cross the awkward. Surface. Polite. But not substantive. And certainly not life-changing.
In this one life, I’m more and more committed to relationships that run deep enough to cross the awkward when necessary. The book of Proverbs says that “an honest answer is like a kiss on the lips,” (24:26) and that even “wounds from a friend can be trusted.” (27:6) In other words, friends who are willing to tell us the truth – even when it’s awkward – are a BLESSING.
I am grateful to have some good friends in my life who have crossed the awkward for me. Not just to save me from publicly exposing whether I’m a boxers or briefs sort of guy (I’ll never tell) – but to step into my space and, in love, confront me when I needed it. One closed friend of mine who lives across the city, for example, told me that our friendship was suffering because I am always so busy I rarely check in to see how he’s doing… I gotta call him, come to think of it. And it wasn’t just about him. He was crossing the polite barrier and opening my eyes to a pattern of behavior – of taking my close relationships for granted. It wasn’t easy to hear at the time. But I’m working on it – and my relationships are better for it. If he wasn’t willing to risk a little awkward, I would have just continued blindly to expose my self-absorbed nature to everyone around me. But he was willing to pull me aside, and discreetly say, “Dude… Your, um… Your self-absorbed nature is showing. You might wanna get on that.”
And honestly, I just crossed the awkward for a good friend of mine this week in a big way. I have NO DOUBT that we will be much closer friends because of it.
So, on behalf of those of us with a misbehaving zipper, spinach in our teeth, or (more significantly) some issue of concern with our character or lifestyle, would you do me a favor? Would you please, for the sake of the betterment of mankind and in the name of life-changing relationships, please be willing to cross the awkward. Say what needs to be said. Don’t enable us on our walk of shame any longer. I think we’ve exposed ourselves quite enough, thank you very much.
Ever had someone “cross the awkward” for you when you really need it? Let me know…
“crossing the awkward :: friendships at the speed limit in outer space” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
“This Too Shall Pass” by OK Go. Creativity on display makes me smile. WOW.