They Came My Way
Fulfilling Life’s Longing For Itself
“May you grow up to be righteous, may you grow up to be true.
May you always know the truth and see the lights surrounding you.
May you always be courageous, stand upright and be strong.
May you stay forever young.”
It was 1983. Unemployment was at 9.6%. A first class postage stamp cost $.20. Median household income was $20,885; life expectancy was 74.6 years.
The US invaded Grenada. Noise-free compact discs were introduced. Five US researchers won Nobel Prizes in Science while Poland’s Lech Walesa won the Nobel Peace Prize.
El Nino was introduced as a phenomenon of global weather patterns. Playwright Tennessee Williams, Geodesic Dome designer Buckminster Fuller and America’s all-time favorite boxer Jack Dempsey died.
In the early hours of May 13, 1983, my wife and I welcomed our third child, Brett Griffith Williams, into our world. It was not an easy birth, complicated by fluids entering his esophagus and stomach. Sometime around 5am my wife, Judy, and Brett were resting comfortably as I drove from Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital on silent streets to our home on Hidden Valley Drive.
I so clearly remember that early morning. I was listening to some easy music on the radio as my mind wandered with aimless thoughts about this new youngster in my life and the journey we were now beginning.
At some point in my New Father musings, I become overcome with emotion. I began to cry…not tears of pain…but of promise for God’s gift that had entered my life that day. Somehow, in that time capsule moment of awareness, I knew it was good that this soul had come my way.
The American philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, once described a child as the new product of nature. Kahlil Gibran went on to state that our children come to us to fulfill Life’s longing for itself. Yes, our children are not ours as replicates of parental life patterns and preoccupations. Instead, our children come to us…and through us…to authenticate the story of individualization. And if we fail to appreciate this factual life message, we will miss our parenting purpose.
From that early morning in 1983 through well passed a quarter century that will soon turn into the Thirty Something Years, Brett is on his way to putting his mark on the authentic self.
When Brett was a kid, he faced some health challenges with asthma. He hated being treated differently than his buddies. This was particularly so when he went off to weekend or weeklong church camps where we required that he lug along a special, small tote bag with a breathing apparatus for just in case events. Brett put up with it until one year when we sent him off to camp with a pink tote bag just because it happened to be the one we had around the house. He has never let my wife and me off the hook for that oversight.
By Junior High and throughout his high school years, Brett became encyclopedic with knowledge about music lyrics and movie dialogue…particularly humorous. Viewing a movie just once or listening to artist’s lyrics and vocals, Brett could isolate, remember and then duplicate the lyrics or character dialogues to the amazement of his friends…as well as his parents. He became an entertainer of sorts…but what he was really doing was following his Bliss…encountering at a young age his love for music.
By the time college was on the horizon, there was no way Brett was yet ready to translate his passion into his mission. So while his academic grades were adequate, he lacked a sense of what he wanted as college raced toward him. Yet, what he had developed in his eighteen years was a keen sense of reading people…knowing who is a truth teller and who is not. Brett had acquired an ethical compass which basically meant one thing…he knew what it meant to say what you mean and mean what you say.
At a liberal arts Christian University, Biola, while pursuing a major in Communications, Brett’s unique calling as a trusted Truth Teller merged with his passion for music in a professional mission that my wife and I can only describe today as God’s grace at work.
Today, almost eight years after college graduation, Brett has carved out a compelling, growing career in the music industry working with artist groups that seek him and know him as a trusted advisor and manager.
Not a month now passes that Brett is not somewhere in the world far, far away from his Mission Viejo homeland. Both he and his wife, Michelle, pursue unique careers as they explore their God-given skills and abilities.
What is authentic individuation in this story of my son, Brett Griffith Williams? Authenticity carries a specific meaning to me. It means: defined in its origins…shaped by its original nature. Individuation is rooted in its core self…which can be described with these words: God expressing as. God expressing itself in relationship with others is the activity of The Good, the fundamental purpose of human consciousness.
Brett is becoming more of the man he already is. He’s solid in his core; He’s steady in his pursuits. He’s adventurous in his relationships with his wife, family, friends and professional associates.
A colorful, engaging son and man has come my way. He has blessed me and brought much delight to my life. I am so glad the pink tote bag disappeared. Its long-ago departure is symbolic of Brett not letting himself be defined by a limitation but, rather, breathing joy into today’s and tomorrow’s possibilities for living, doing, being the Good at home, at work and in the community.