Speechwriting: Corporate, Weddings, Retirement


Early Morning with Bob Dylan

Dig Dylan. I am at 5:00 am. A spam text message on my cell woke me at 4:10 am. Listening on YouTube, I am thinking about a beginning of today.

"What Good Am I?" from "Oh Mercy"
see lyrics: http://www.bobdylan.com/songs/whatgood.html

Why this song? Why this album?

5:45 pm

That's why.

The sum of that moment in time -- over within 15 broken-hearted minutes -- concluded the beginning of a new era. Relationships that mattered ended, forcing me to ask questions about who I am. Not just what Bob Dylan is singing, but about what I am. A few things I knew, but sorting them together was challenging. My life played discordantly.

I was heavily involved in a jail ministry, served in an educational prolife organization, tutored semi-full-time, and, at that point, was completing a BS in English with no sense of direction. I lived in a dilapidated basement apartment managed by landlords of negotiable scruples on Rt 51.

On that day, at that time, enough changed too that the first post-college church I attended, my first "grown-up church" -- that relationship also came to an end. As one friend told me then about relationships: hearts entangle. Not one thread, but many, and not neatly woven.

Just before this date, in 1991, I had a complex year - particularly the spring. I became involved in a high profile murder trial for which I did research, and, as a result, started receiving hate mail and phone calls. I was graduating college, working at Bent Grammar School, and tutoring. I managed PR and marketing, and organizing some events for the prolife group. Nasty things were said about me in the local newspapers.

After graduating, I drove to Colorado Springs, CO for an interview with Focus on the Family. No experience. First real interview. I didn't get the job.

Driving to and from Colorado over 17-hours, and two eight-hour days coming back (sleeping in my car in Salina, Kansas) -- I listened to this album non-stop. I bought the cassette a day or two earlier.

Introspective, spiritually investigative, and suspicious of evil, Dylan's songs were no answer to my forthcoming challenges, but they did reaffirm the questions themselves.

Life then changed just a few months later that evening of April 1, 1992. Now, the question was forced upon me: what now, who now?

The answer is a much longer thought, but in short, I learned, and in 1993, in August, I drove my car one last time north up I-55 to Wheaton, Illinois to attend graduate school.

What really matters was not a relationship, at least, not that one. It mattered, and does, even now, 16 years later, but not in the same sense as the one, only important relationship with God. What felt twined was ripped apart, and what was ripped apart required retying to a better stead.

On April 1, 1992, nothing ended. Not in the light of what began.

What good am I if I say foolish things
And I laugh in the face of what sorrow brings
And I just turn my back while you silently die,
What good am I?
-Bob Dylan, "What Good Am I?" from the CD "Oh Mercy."
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