I’m going to admit this publicly, once and for all, something I’ve admitted privately for years. The day Manning retires - no matter the circumstances - will be a day I shed some tears, and the day the last part of my childhood youth dies away.
Manning is the reason I approached football the way I did…and though I’ll probably never meet him, he has certainly had a big hand in my life. Some may scoff at this, but in the end, Manning has been my biggest childhood idol and hero, and this article reminds me that time has gone on, age and maturity has come with it.
I’m no longer 8, watching a guy named Peyton wave his arms and bark orders around like a squawking pigeon…and football is no longer something confined to Madden ‘98. Life has grown past the confines of my childhood and with growing up came responsibility.
Whether it be the loss of a friend to death, friends becoming tragically ill, car accidents, or whatever life circumstances that were brought into my life, in the end, my experiences from football and sports (and obviously, God’s grace), helped me adapt, shape, cope, and grow.
No matter how it ends, and I’m very afraid this may be the end, Peyton will be one of my idols and heroes forever.
Memorial Day means one thing (besides honoring Veterans who have served our country proudly) to a Biola University student: Summer Break has begun. It’s insane to think how fast the past two years of my life have evaporated into the dusk on the unstoppable train of time.
It’s as if part of me believes that the summer months following my senior year of high school are a distant memory, still images taken in my mind, with flashes and blasts from the past when a smell, a sound, or a picture crosses my path – yet the other part feels as if it were just yesterday, still as fresh as the first time I walked onto the beautiful Biola campus as a student two summers ago.
So much has taken place during the last two years. That’s so vague to say; yet it’s the only appropriate way to start. I entered Biola with a “Cool Joe” mentality, expecting the clout of my ministry and high school past to carry with me, 1000 miles away in a city that is literally four times the size of my home state (Oregon).
As I’ve written in past blogs, the fall was a really humbling time spiritually, socially, and emotionally. I had to earn my accreditation from my peers, from faculty, and from the community I was immersed in.
It was a whirlwind – I was confused, hurting, and lonely for the most part…despite the fact on the external it appeared as if I was living the high life a college freshman.
Once Spring Semester hit, I finally hit a stride. I had a system down for school, for friends, and for getting around. Yet balancing my life was no longer easy like it was during high school. I learned the hard way that you have to invest in friendships to keep them, that you can’t bank everything in school and expect to stay sane, and you certainly can’t spend your time with one particular girl assuming you’re mature enough to do so.
By the time my first college summer hit, I was exhausted. Yet, I packed up my things and traveled coast-to-coast in 14 days. It was an incredible time where I got to experience the maturity and growth that had taken place the previous 9 months. As I wandered New York City by myself, I finally felt a large separation between my old self and who I was becoming and now I had a choice: embrace growing up and maturing, or return to my childish ways.
I would like to believe I chose to grow up.
The past 9 months now has been extremely interesting. God has revealed to me that areas of my heart and mind that weren’t quite ready to make the leap. I had to wrestle with breaking other people’s hearts, the breaking of my own, learning to balance school, work, and play, finding out how to further relationships in a healthy manner, and contemplating (and making) a switch on my major among other things. Life was crazy.
Now as summer has rolled in, I will be sitting in a cubicle a few days a week, spending my other days blowing a whistle and yelling at high school students to chop their feet, and thinking that life has certainly come and continued on real fast.
It’s taken me nearly a week to finish this blog, which is further evidence I chose the right option when I dropped my journalism major. Writing has burned me out. Yet, last night, the rain was falling and the smell of the humid air being lifted off of asphalt was fresh.
I took a walk outside, because it was a year ago I experienced the same thing in New York City, a trip, as I mentioned earlier and in earlier blogs, changed my life. Now, I’m living on my own, learning how to cook (my mom says women will love this – that’s of course before they try it), and learning out the new system of being completely on my own (exception being those nice surprises of cash my parents and grandma sometimes sends me).
I wish I had some sort of charge to you, some sort of divine wisdom or profound statement to give to you like I normally try to conjure up with these types of blogs, but it just isn’t going to happen today.
What I would like to do though is challenge you to seek growth and to seek change. Life is too short not to embrace everything we have here on earth. One day, we will have an entire eternity to enjoy a new heaven and new earth that is completely untainted by sin – our favorite foods, colors, games, sceneries, and everything in between will be made new. I personally can not wait for that day.
However, until that day, we have a very large earth that is still the creation of God at our fingertips. Take a leap of faith and travel, try new things, and say yes to things you would normally say no to.
Our journey (for most of you that is, who know Christ) has an ending that is already scripted. So it is the end that matters…but now we can explore the journey to it’s fullest. Enjoy it…you have once to embrace!
When you live in Southern California, often times you forget what fresh air and cool breezes feel like…smell like…even taste like.
As I envied my friends who were celebrating a surprise snowstorm in Portland, I myself took a walk through a local park. Here in La Mirada, parks have a mystique about them at nighttime. Typically there are certain patches that give an eerie shiver to your soul, because they get serenely quiet and the temperature can mysteriously drop 10 degrees at any given time. I suppose that’s the effect of a dessert-like climate here in the Southwest corner of the country.
As I walked back to Beatrice (my Honda), the breeze hit my nose at the right time – Mumford was playing softly from my phone, I had finally gotten a few minutes to myself, and the temperature hit Oregon summer cool – and with it, came the distinct smell of summer camp.
I remember those lonely days (I hated being away from home when I was young) and even lonelier nights because I would sneak out and walk alone through the forests. Little did I know this would become a healthy habit at the age of 20, as a time to think and process my life.
Life was seemingly easier back then…as it should be…and often times I wish I could race back to the days of my childhood where laying in the grass and arguing about which Rugrat character was the best dominated my time.
Yet, time has a way of not slowing down, and I’m not one to dwell in the past but look excitedly towards the future. When did we grow up?
Tomorrow I will put on a tie and get into my car, and join the millions of people who drive in Los Angeles on Friday mornings. I will sit in an office, overlooking Santa Monica Blvd., and I will stare into the computer screens and on sheets of paper, memorizing company facts and bios for the groups I will soon help represent at Amy Levy Public Relations.
I’ll get my half hour lunch break, and I’ll join the rush home on the 405 Southbound Freeway. Is this my dream? No, but it’s a start towards fulfilling the passions that are put on my heart.
I don’t remember when it happened exactly, but coffee started tasting good, lunch breaks became a once a day event, and the water cooler conversation became part of my vocabulary.
Somewhere along those same days, 10pm no longer seemed late, waking up early got much harder, and I lost the beloved breakfasts my mom cooked, and the car rides with dad to school.
Yes, growing up is hard.
But sometimes you can slow down, and just as the traffic will surely slow (hopefully not to a stop), life can as well. I will probably take a detour to The One for a little, watching the sunset along the Pacific Ocean, say a little prayer, take off the tie, and go back to those days when Rush Hour was just a movie.