A giant pup is sprawled at my feet with a tennis ball hanging out of her noble maw. Ears at attention, gaze firmly fixed on me, and ever hopeful we shall play our 100th game of fetch for the morning. This is the life, folks, though neither glamorous nor headline-making. These days of healing and hopefulness in the “Hobbit House” have proven so very hard and they have revealed a better life than I could have imagined; they have revealed the good life I now live as an aspiring nerd living an interesting life.
While the pastor spoke of what gets between humans and his hope, I began to think of the people I admire and the qualities among them I most value: Katie, Dave(s), M3, M(2), K, and Z…old debate buddies, friends from Adventures, colleagues and friends. Among them there are wealthy and not; super-talented and perhaps not; many gentle, intelligent, kind-hearted people for sure. What connects these people are one or two characteristics: nerdliness and interesting lives.
Little wonder I am drawn to them. Great conversations, freedom from the fads and foolishness de jour; they inspire, they play instruments I cannot name. As a whole – these people keep learning and trying new adventures in education, relationship, recreation, and community. Just writing this makes my heart beat faster than before!
Most of these folks did not peak in high school, were never the BMOC (big man on campus), mean girls, or super (fill in the blank here). These folks do not drip diamonds or gossip and they’ve quietly earned their street cred. A few friends were once covert operatives, some were indigent, many have skills and talents both important and unheralded. These folks live life quietly. They think, ponder, and wonder. They act and serve. They live in today.
Leaving Manhappiness for warmer climes to try something new which may benefit their families. Striking out from secure jobs or what they’d been told of their worth, to independently bring light and beauty into the world and babies forth from the womb. Working each day with other people’s loved ones and hoping to inspire, make comfortable, or offer a way out of violence and/or poverty – these are the beautiful people in my world – nerds living interesting lives.
- You’d never know he sneaks off to mentor people who have little hope
- She secretly cooks extra for the hungry folks in her building
- They support folks just beginning to live
- She has read more classics than I’ll ever and travels abroad regularly to meet up with her hobbyist friends, they wonder how the rent will be paid and invest their resources to help others
- She is a veteran helping connect others to resources of care and healing
- He is a terrific dad and encourager
- They make my heart flip just by calling
- He purchased shoes for his mom because she was unable to at a time she needed to run off the fear and shame
- She adds joy to a room just by her presence…a sparkly gnome, a strong woman leading her family into education, a gentle woman with an old soul
- He sees people, is willing to jump in and help, and has a room-elevating sincere smile
- She drives country roads to honor a love too soon lost
- He sponsors a community table where simple lunch drives away loneliness and students eat beside faculty
- They do their jobs in ways which bring lift to the ordinary day
Many have always been nerdly. Some will never be nerds. Each of these people which come to mind lead interesting lives without banging a drum for attention.
Each – to the person – has an idea, interest, skill, talent, or ambition which they offer to others as they learn and improve.
They build community in small – often obscured ways – like the craftsmen who carved astounding pieces now hidden behind doors in great buildings or cathedrals.
They are nerds living interesting lives rather than cheap imitations of reality-show celebrities.
And I admire them, though you may never know their name.
It takes derring do to live your own life; to escape the trappings of what we “should” do or what the “Joneses” do. But remember, “beautiful things don’t ask for attention.”