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7.07.2011

I WANT TO KNOW

During the summer between my 7th and 8th grade years I got braces on my teeth.  I was given at birth the front teeth of the likes of Lauren Bacall (google her if you don't know what she looks like).  Besides the gaps in the front 4 teeth of my uppers, I was given an over bite.  It was also the summer my parents remodelled our house and added an addition to it.  The contractor's name was Leonard and he worked closely with a man named Dallas.  Now Dallas had sons.  He had quite a few sons.  And, none of them that I saw that summer were ugly.  I had a desire all my life to know stuff.  Now stuff is both relative and subjective.  At that time I wanted to know how to build things.  And, I had a huge crush on one of Dallas' sons.  Consumed I was with knowing exactly what Leonard was doing as he worked on our house.  There is no doubt looking back that I wasn't a normal kid (still am not).  Literally I followed Leonard everywhere watching closely how he held the tools, what he did with them.  I asked him questions and probably at 13 years of age, drove him a bit crazy and slowed him down some.  He though was patient and let me ask anything I wanted in the constructionie sort of things category.  There have been other things I have wanted to know.  Like, when a lady years ago who was part of a church we pastored was literally dying, I sat on her bed and asked her tons of questions.  She graciously answered; what is it like to know you have a few days to live, what can you see in dying that you don't and can't see in living, do you like people being open and frank with you, what do you do with regrets and does knowing time is limited put those in perspective, what do you feel about leaving everything you know and walking into eternity based on faith...  I wanted to know what she knew.  I wanted to see what she was seeing.  I wanted to understand better what she felt.  So thankful I am that she shared her emotions and thoughts with me.  As a young woman of about 24 with a child of 3 years old of my own I thought about aging.  I wondered what it really felt like to be 70 or 80.  One day I asked Ruth, an 80 something year old woman, to tell me what it felt like to be in her eighties.  I asked her what was good and what was bad about being her age.  She responded like she was grateful to be able to talk about it so frankly, "Well, sometimes I walk by a mirror and catch a glimpse of myself.  I, for a brief moment wonder who that old lady is!  Then I realize that is what I look like which doesn't match in the least what I feel like on the inside.  On the inside I am young, still quick thinking, and feel and think the same thoughts and emotions of when I was young.  It's odd to feel your body slow down, but your insides to be the same - your thoughts.  I am really still 19."   I sat in the prison visiting my uncle who was serving a 12 year sentence for a sexual crime.  I wanted to know lots of things.  He didn't back away from my tough questions, my uncomfortable thoughts.  I wanted to know what he was thinking as he was in the middle of committing this crime.  Did he know he was doing wrong?  Did he know he would pay for this decision?  I wanted to know what led him to that day, that decision - what groundwork had he laid or someone close to him that made him choose that decision.  I asked.  He answered.  I have always wanted to know things - technical things, book things, hands on things, spiritual things, what people feel and think.  Really I just want to know so I ask.  I have found if you ask, remarkably most of the time people will answer.  For someone who always wants to know things, it's great that others seem to want to answer.   

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