Mar 18, 2008

Backwards

There are people in all of our lives that profoundly influence us. Often, we do not realize the effect that they have had; until we have spent years trying to prove them wrong, or until we have simply forgotten what it was that they were trying to impart to us. Then, one day, out of the clear blue sky, their words smack us into realization and finally acceptance. One such person is my Uncle Pete.
My Uncle has always been a solid force in my life. He was one of the only people that I have ever known who was--and remains--exactly who he claimed to be. A devout Catholic, he supports his church by leading worship regularly, tithing consistently and living as much like Jesus as he knows how.
When I was a teenager, struggling to find my way, he was there with direction and even prodding. I did not understand him. In fact, I thought he was a bit of a kook. Now, I am beginning to understand.
He had a lot to say about life and the choices we all make. But, sometimes, he would loosen up and begin dreaming out loud. These are some of the most memorable moments. Uncle Pete once said that if he was God, he would have made life backwards. You would start old and worn, slowly getting younger and more agile. By the time you were in your twenties, you would have the most money, the most energy, and the least responsibility. By the time you retired--at eighteen--you would have nothing but years of wonder ahead before you crawled back into the womb and finsihed your existance warm and happy and whole.
I have always loved that idea. It has stuck with me and now that I am a little older, I think I understand where he was going with that train of thought. I have been taking life so seriously lately. My job, our finances, parenting, dealing with our parents, all of it. Maybe it's time to live life backwards. Maybe I need to play more, worry less and most of all find wonder again.
I look at my kids and I realize that the best gift I can give them is my joy. When I am joyful, it spreads to them. When they are joyful, it spreads to me. So, instead of becoming more responsible (screw that!) I'm going to go play. Last one with me is a rotten egg.

P.S. Thanks Uncle Pete! You have taught me more than you'll ever know.

P.P.S. The picture above is an example of my newfound playfulness. I had to crawl down a pretty gnarly cliff to get that shot. It was fun.

3 comments:

Carolyn said...

I'm going to comment on you Matt because I love you! You are brilliant and a total hunk. (hunk? yikes....)

Who knew playfulness would be so hard on a daily basis- when did we get so serious?

Anonymous said...

So insightful. So much to think about. I really enjoy your writing. Thank you.

bottomland said...

Matt, this is a great post! Great writing and great insights... Thanks for the inspiration!
Caren
(a faithful blog reader from MDC)