With a name like 630 Design & Photography, I get a lot of inquiries into the origin of the name. Truth be told, I had a number of other choices floating through my head. Each time I found a good one, I'd research it and there would be 3 other Rooster Creatives or some variation and I'd have to go back to the drawing board. (Rooster was a favorite choice thanks to a favorite song, maybe more on that another time!)
I wrapped up my last day at my former employer on June 29th, it was a Friday. That becomes an important part of the story later. I was still waffling between starting my own firm and going back into another marketing position working for someone else like I always have, a place of comfort, a place I know.
As anybody might be, I was legitimately concerned (and so were those that love me). There are a million unknowns starting your own business, not the least of which is a variable income to pay some very non-variable bills!
So I prayed for direction... a lot.
Now a funny thing about my relationship with God, we have an entirely different view on the passage of time. Full disclosure, I like to get things done, so a clear answer to my future would be good to have by 4:00pm this afternoon (sooner would also be fine). I can tell you from experience, this is rarely the case for me with God's will.
In retrospect it was evident, He was working on the details the whole time, I just needed to have patience. A number of things had to marinate, evolve, fail, succeed, present, disappear, etc., but that didn't change the occasional thought that maybe I was missing something, some sign, or not doing the right thing. I sat on the fence until my final day at work, clutching my concern like a security blanket.
I said my goodbyes to some very good people that I have come to love. I was so busy that day making sure I caught everybody on my way out, I didn't have time to contemplate what I was about to do. I drove home that day, feeling sad to leave my work family, but excited about the possibilities of my new venture. And then a question popped into my head, am I really doing this?
I have often advocated that people should choose to lead, follow or get out of the way. Sometimes we need to choose one, a combination, or all three depending on the circumstances. We all have responsibilities to execute in our lives, we are required to take action, nothing changes if nothing changes. Sometimes the shear act of taking a chance will lead to a better existence than you ever dreamed, albeit completely differently than we had envisioned or planned, serendipity defined, love and faith realized. That being said, I'm comfortable leading in this world, I try to follow to the best of my abilities His will, but quite honestly, I've never been that great at getting out of the way.
So on Saturday morning I woke up still unconvinced this was the right choice, to follow my dream and step out of my comfort zone. I did my morning rituals, coffee, Facebook, feed the animals and a prayer. Most of my prayers are a little long-winded like this blog entry, but this one was short. I hit my knees and simply said, "Thy will be done."
Now I would caution you to tell people you hear voices in your head, but a clear distinct message came immediately, "Go for it." An intense sense of warmth and relief flooded over me. I was immediately inundated with reasons that starting my own business was a great plan. I had an answer and a clear path. It was June 30th, 6/30.
Now I suppose that in any world that would be enough, but anytime you make a major decision in life, what follows is a little concern and a heaping helping of buyer's remorse. We are given the gift of free will, which is both a blessing and a curse, especially when we have to make a big decision. The nagging voice of doubt started whispering to me that very afternoon. Fortunately, there was more proof to come.
16 years previous coincidentally, I made another decision that changed my life, I got sober. On the evening before, I was watching the Shawshank Redemption and the part where Andy is talking to Red against the wall in the yard hit me right between the eyes. Andy said, "I guess it comes down to a simple choice really, get busy livin' or get busy dyin'." I remember that moment like it was yesterday. I remember thinking if you're a loving God, raise me up, if you're a punishing God take me out. I'm still here, proof to me of a loving God. God was always there for me. My first day of sobriety was June 30th, 2002.
So big life-changing decisions on 6/30. It would be fine to end the story there, but there was more to come over the course of the following week... the Gospels.
I wish I could say I'm an avid reader of the bible, I'm not really. I joined a bible study group with a bunch of guys I have come to admire for their faith and their kindness, but I don't usually sit and read the Good Book, I'm working on that. I love hearing passages in church and I of course have my favorite stories. One of them is the story of the Loaves and Fishes.
You might be familiar with the story. Jesus and the apostles feed 5,000 people from 5 loaves of bread and two fish. I've always marveled at the story, essentially, despite limited resources, with faith, all things are possible. If you believe, you will be fed, literally and figuratively. A great message for anyone and certainly a great message for me. The story starts in the bible at Mark Chapter 6, verse 30.
Then there was John 6:30. "So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? " and it finished with 6:35 "Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." The message, do not worry, with God all things are possible and you will always be provided for. But there was more...
Matthew 6:30 "If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?" God will always provide despite our concerns for losing what we have, we will always be provided what we need. And it continues...
Luke 6:30-31 "Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you." A call to altruism, this is not just an opportunity to serve me and my family with my time, talent and treasure, but humanity through capturing memories, creating beauty in art and helping other business people make their dreams come true.
So there you have it, the long version of "What's in a Name?" In a perfect world, my faith is undeniable, in the real world I struggle all the time. I tell people I try not to ask for signs, it's like asking for proof, which is in direct opposition to the very definition of faith. It's like saying turn this turtle into a frog in front of me or I'm just going to do this my way. But I believe God knows we wonder, we are by our very flawed nature challenged to believe unabashed by the days trials and tribulations. The truth is, the signs are everywhere, we just have to be in a place where we can see them. Fortunately for me, He has helped me get there and see His glory and for that I am forever grateful.
(Quick note: I had pondered this blog post for quite a while. Yesterday one of the readings in church included John 6:30, seemed like a good time to get it done ;) )