All I really want in life.

When it all boils down to it. There are very few things I truly desire in life. Now before I go on, I must clarify. This is not to be a list of the items that fallow the statements “It would be wonderful to have that” or “It would be nice to live there”. Although those that list can be important when it comes to motivation, it is still a very secular view of how I tend to perceive success. Financial wealth is a luxury and a bi-product of hard work and dedication. I admire many of the people who were able to climb this ladder to the top because they were inspired to work hard in life. This is not what I value. Wealth in my eyes goes beyond the material standing. Wealth is not strictly what you gain, but also what you gave. When I say I have very few things I desire in life. This is the approach I have. I wish to leave my mark on this world. I wish to make a difference for the better. Allow me to elaborate.

Now I feel that the statement I made above “Wealth is not strictly what you gain, but also what you gave.” this has been said before. I cannot recall who but I dare not take credit. This statement however highlights what I believe it means to be truly successful in life. To succeed with how many lives you have touched. Another (perhaps butchered quote) comes to mind. It requires a bit of an anecdote, so bear with me.

There is a man who is sitting on a log with two children on his lap while a few others stand beside him. This man who we know nothing about is laughing and smiling as he seems to entertain the children all huddled around him. As you observe this pleasant sight, someone says “Now there’s a man who is truly wealthy”.

     I could have swore I read this somewhere but it is 2am and I wish to proceed with my thought rather than properly cite my sources. This small and insignificant seeming man makes an impact on those around him. This man is happy regardless of what happens or what has happened, he is happy to be a father figure to these young children. I feel a good father figure has some of the most incredible wealth imaginable. Bill Gate’s wealth (which I believe was above 52 billion, last I heard) cannot compare to the love and sacrifice a given by good parents. The greatest gift parents can give to their child is life. There is nothing more profound and meaningful than that. I don’t think I will ever deserve what my parents have given me. They have brought me into this world to experience everything. They raised me from birth to the point I left home. They gave everything and now ask for next to nothing. What am I supposed to do with that?

Life is an incredible gift. In a way, to give what you have been given can also be very powerful. That is why I wish to become a father. I have little faith that I will be perfect. The lord knows my parents weren’t perfect, but it was because of them I am here. I’m here to take on everything life has to offer because of them. The shit storms and the beauty. Now that I am a little older and I have experienced a fair amount, I think I’m starting to realize how amazing life can be. I have had some (mild) scarring experiences in my life and I have also met a someone I want to spend the rest of my life with. The fact that life has it’s drastically different contrasts does not taint life. It enhances life. Not to say have been through horrible times, nor am I saying have I escaped them, but things never look quite as good until after you’ve gone through some rough times. Somewhat like a loved one getting in an accident. With one phone call you’ve got your priorities figured out.

We are each only here for a very short time. We’re just one worm of existence in the 4th dimension. Or a point in the 5th. There is very little we can do to effect what happens on our planet, and even less in the universe. Wealth (for me) is not in what you wish to gain through the time you have, but rather, the time you can give. I want to be a dad.

For all those dad’s out there who inspire me: Destin Sandlin, Jon Schmidt, Steven Sharp Nelson, Paul Anderson, Al van der Beek, of course my father, and probably many others I am forgetting. Look out, I’m going to try and join the club.

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Christmas break (part 2)

   There was a couple pretty major things that happened on and after Christmas. My sister Emily is now engaged to a gentleman she met here in Marquette and had grown close to. That came as a surprise to most everyone in my family. The proposal was a little awkward (a trend that I am beginning to see is not so uncommon) with a misunderstanding of gifts under the tree. My father had grabbed the small parcel thinking it was a small gift from my mother. She promptly opened it at the same time as another gift was being opened by someone else. This caused a bit of suspense when she gasped and we had to wait for the unobservant people in our crowd to quit talking. It all turned out well though. Drew soon saw his moment and promptly dropped to one nee and proposed. It both warmed my heart and left me slightly unnerved. (not exactly sure why) Especially when my Katrina gave me a look that suggested desire. ….. All in due time, my dear. …. This event left me startled but fairly pleased. Drew is a nice fellow who seems to have a serious interest in taking care of my sister. This is more than I could have asked for, all things considered. Nobody’s perfect, but I have grown more fond of the fellow. Especially since the other major thing that happened over Christmas break.
   It was the day after Christmas. My family had just had Christmas with my Grandparents and they had left to go home. It was only some family members and friends remaining. I was upstairs with my sister Skyping my friend. (Well my sister was actually. They seem to have taken a liking to each other. I was waiting eagerly for Katrina’s return from her trip away earlier that day. Suddenly my sister’s phone rings. I see that it’s Katrina so I answer it. “Hi babe!” I say in a chipper tone. “Peter!” She says to me repeatedly in a breathless terrified voice, “I’ve been in an accident!”. My heart dropped so far and so fast I couldn’t think straight. “What? .. Where are you? Are you hurt? Where are you?” I began speaking fast as I held back the building panic in my chest. “Past Minard Mill” she said sounding as though it was difficult speaking. I was halfway downstairs by now and soon lost reception there. Without thinking I grabbed my phone. Told my mother and those present that Katrina had gotten in an accident then headed for the door. My father jumped to his feet and said he was coming, Drew did the same. The three of us slip on some winter garments and race out the door. I’m dialing up Katrina as I hop in my truck. I hand the phone to my dad and he talks to her as I drive. He’s speaking in a calm and soft tone. My thoughts are racing. I kept thinking of how she sounded when I spoke to her. I didn’t know if she was standing outside the wreck on the phone or pinned in a crumpled car dying. The word terror does not fully express my feelings at that time. “Slow down, we’ll get there” My father says in a calm tone. I realize my mistake and begin to regain my senses while trying to calm myself. We didn’t know where she was at but I knew it had to be close because she was headed back to my house. Suddenly we round a bend and see a car pulled over and two figures standing on the opposite side of the road. There’s a faint glow like headlights coming from down in the ditch. A feeling of slight relief rushes over me as I see that Katrina is visibly unharmed and standing. I drive around and pull. Without thinking I jump out and run to embrace Katrina. She’s crying and holding a water bottle. The gentleman who stopped after seeing headlights in a ditch sees that he is no longer needed and starts to walk away. Someone says thank you and that reminds me to do the same. “Thank you!” I say over Katrina’s shoulder. I wasn’t ready to let go. In that moment I was slowly beginning to realize who I couldn’t live without. I realize now that it wasn’t just Katrina who almost died that day.
   After I am satisfied with my embrace, I guide her to my tailgate to sit while I survey the damage. Dad and Drew are already gathering items that had flown out the windows. One of the items was her Macbook. (Other than a new dent, it seemed to be unharmed) It was a single car accident where she had lost control coming around a left curve. We assume hydroplaning or maybe a layer of thin ice was the cause of it. The back of the car must have started drifting as it came around the bend but soon got caught on the inner edge of the curve as it slid down into the ditch. The right side of the car smacked into the tree blowing out all the windows on that side plus the back and crunching part of the windshield. The car had spun around ending up facing the opposite directions she has come. The mechanics of the car seemed to be fairly unharmed but the damage to the body plus a bend in the frame told us that Stanley (the car’s name) was done. We talked things over and decided that my truck could pull it out. So we hook up my tow strap, turn on the 4 wheel low and crawl it out of the ditch. Stanley was still drivable so my dad drove it home as I fallowed. Feelings of sentiment pass over me as I see the car that was wrecked and yet left my girl nearly unharmed. Katrina walked away with a number of bruises and a bump on the head but nothing of serious consequences. God was most definitely looking out for her little angel that night and I was given a revelation. I did not spend a day away from Katrina till I had to leave for my job back up north, and that was no easy task. That Sunday, as she sang in the church choir, she never sounded more beautiful. Every moment from then on seemed to have more light in it. I don’t want to ever experience something like that again but I should probably thank it for showing me who I truly love.
     There’s not much else that happened over Christmas break. I got to celebrate New Years Eve with Katrina and my parents. Most my family members left to “go have fun” but Katrina and I watched The Princess Bride with my parents. I thoroughly enjoyed that.
I left on the 5th without tears or severe heartache. I know who I love and I think she truly cares about me. That, honestly, is all I need. I don’t know what this new year holds for me, but I’m thinking Katrina will be a big part of it.
   Wish me luck this semester. … I can’t believe I have to retake Calculus.

Here’s a recording of an angel singing after her accident. Pity the quality wasn’t great.