The modern day teenage pacifier.
Anyway, the first one playing with my gleaming electronic miracle is my youngest. He is 10 and I love the crap out of him, but he has dirty little paws. I am not sure why, but his mitts are always kinda brownish and sticky so it was really no surprise to get it back with this thin layer of grime on the screen. Little gooey fingerprints to remind me who was playing with it.
The thing will never be the same, it was permanently changed by my son's touch.
So as I have been reflecting on my trip to the states I have been thinking a lot about those fingerprints, those marks left by my boy. Mostly I am just kinda torqued because the screen is still a tad on the tacky side, but there is something else. There were other things, other moments, really other people that left fingerprints on me. Prints that will, and have changed me for ever and every time I grabbed that iPod I am reminded of them.
I spent some time with this guy who is a scientist. He is intelligent, likeable, but much more than that, he loves his two beautiful daughters. I love my kids to death, but I would be lying if I said I was a competley devoted dad, but this guy is. He spends every moment showing his daughters he loves them, spending time with them doing what they want to do, doing what they need him to do, really he just serves them. Now he works extremely hard, in a high pressure environment, often at all hours of the day and night, but when he is with his daughters he is "with" his daughters. He is not thinking about the office, not about the paperwork, not even about his vacation, at least that I can tell. He is there, in the moment. He has set the standard, shown me what a loving father looks like.
We also spent a ton of time with this guy, this friend, I have known for years. We are about the same age, but his level of maturity and desire to better himself, well, they just put mine to shame. While I was off skipping classes in college, pretending I was going to play in the NFL, he was pursuing his dreams. When his first dream fell through (I don't want to say failed because he progressed farther with it than most) he went back to school. He started with nothing but the drive to succeed and now, at 37, he is finishing his bachelor's in history at the head of the class. He is getting A's all while working full time and being a newlywed. He has taught me more about dedication and sacrifice than anyone, and although he doesn't know it, he was a key factor in my decision to return to school.
Finally, we spent some time getting to know this group of people, some of them family, all of them friends, who have ended up in my hometown with a purpose. Their vision is to change the world, my world, for Christ. They are living in a foreign culture of soccer moms and minivans, leaving behind friends and family, but they travelled together across our great nation to live as followers of Christ. Not only are they living it out, but you should hear them talk about it. They speak differently than most because they speak with passion. For them, it is not enough to obey, they obey with vigor. Passion is infectious, and now I am having a hard time getting it off me.
So to you, those who have left me changed, inspired, and in awe, those who have left your fingerprints on me, thank you. Thank you for being you, for being real, for living a truly authentic life. Its noticed, its appreciated, and its about time you know.