So this past weekend was my bachelor’s weekend. It was a fairly tame event that involved poker, and basketball, and a lake house.
One of my groomsmen is Michael Strawbridge. Aside from being a great spiritual mentor to me and hundreds of other students at Cary High School and NC State over the years, Mike also happens to be a photographer. His work with Strawbridge Studios has logged him a lot of hours and provided him with a certain mastery of the art of photography. His knowledge of lenses, lightning, etc. are incredible.
Also on this trip was my friend Francisco Suarez. It just so happens that he has picked up the common and entertaining hobby of… you guessed it… photography. While the weekend covered a lot of conversational topics, Mike and Francisco spoke at length at least 3 or 4 times about different aspects of photography. Francisco, new to the craft, craved some of the knowledge that Mike could offer him. Mike, being an expert, enjoyed sharing what he has come to know with someone.
Can you imagine if Francisco mentioned his new-found love of photography and then refused to speak with Mike about it? Can you imagine if, out of pride or insecurity, he walked out of the room whenever Mike mentioned giving him a few pointers? It sounds ridiculous, to refuse or reject or ignore the advice of wiser people on subjects that we’re learning, yet we do it
This week I had the pleasure of sitting down with Geoff Bradford (pastor at Christ the King Presbyterian), Chase Gardner (a soon-to-be pastor, and what a blessing for the folks who end up in his congregation), and Ray Seigler (a prominent figure in YoungLife). You should also know that I’m getting married in about 17 days! So as I sat down to speak with these three married men, can you imagine if I refused to listen to their insights and suggestions on how to love my future wife?
We think it’s absurd, and yet we so often choose to plod along through this world with the basest of knowledge. I’ve noticed this in secular and religious spheres. So many people attend church, or school, or take up hobbies and they never attempt to take the next step in understanding the process or experience more fully. There are a few people who always impressed me on this front:
1. Daniel Fox- I just remember that Daniel would, unlike a lot of Christians, wrestle with his issues. He’d ask the hard questions and search for the hard answers. I remember being told once that he had sought out several of the local pastors to speak with them regarding some of these questions, seeking the expertise of people that have established themselves as “the best” in what they do.
2. Phillipe Petit- If you don’t already know him, go look up his TED talk on YouTube. The guy is amazing. But in his stories, there is a definitive theme of seeking the advice and tutelage of the “best” at whatever he was trying to accomplish. When he studied magic, he wanted to find the best magicians to learn from. When he began juggling, he sought out those that were considered the best in the world. His desire to succeed eclipsed any pride or insecurity that would have kept him away from knowledge and growth.
My final encouragement? In your life, take the necessary steps to gain wisdom from those around you. Here are a few questions to ask yourself and a few answers to push you forward:
Are you going to get married or are you recently married? Find married couples to speak with openly and honestly about what it’s like, about what helps, about what doesn’t.
Are you going to be a writer? Try to tweet at the literary agents and publishers that field questions on twitter. Meet with other writers. Seek an audience with published and established authors, ask them hard questions, discover more about what it will take to succeed.
Do you want to learn?
Do you want to grow more as a person?
Do you hope to be better at what you do? Do you hope to be the best at what you do?
I’m still not great about it, but I’d love to continue on in my journey by asking the experts, by going to them and seeking their wisdom and council as I continue in what I’m doing. I really believe that will be the best way to move forward and understand what to do next.