Posts Tagged ‘NBC’

Over the last few months I’ve begun to listen to sermons given by Matt Chandler, lead pastor of The Village Church in Texas. This morning, as I was listening to his sermon series on Habakkuk he quoted something he attributed to Martin Luther while it’s really something offered up by A.W. Tozer: “It is doubtful whether God can use a man greatly, until first He wounds him deeply.” Now I don’t know if this is true in one-hundred percent of cases (therefore I can’t say it’s a law in the same way the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is a law – always true in very case) but in my life it appears to be truth. I also wonder if the term “wound” is synonymous with “burden” – it would seem that it could work out as such. These deep wounds in my experience are often things which, as a result of carrying said wound, forces an individual into closer proximity and deeper understanding of both themselves and the Heavenly Father, the Creator and Master of the Universe. This proximity is something He desires for us but we don’t desire for ourselves because of the sacrifice and/or pain that is often required to bring someone to a point wherein an epiphany occurs: alone, you cannot hold your own life together – you are in need of something more (and He IS that something more) in order to cope with the difficult thing life WILL hand to you. When this realization occurs, often amidst trial, then closer proximity to Him can follow. (Not to say that it cannot happen otherwise, but the crucible of trial is often the best teacher; it is why what the Apostle Paul has to say about suffering – In Romans 5 – will ALWAYS be leagues better than anything Jedi Master Yoda can come up with.)

I’ve found that my wound is multi-dimensional. One part of the wound is Cerebra Palsy (CP); another part of the wound is an inner spirit that seems incompatible with the CP, a spirit that wants to excel and perform beyond what oftentimes a CP body allows; yet another facet is the physical pain that stems from the clashing of the first two parts – the spirit forces the body to excel beyond it’s limits for an extended time and the body screams in protest. It wasn’t always this way; it has been over the last decade that I’ve grappled with this new reality of pain and deterioration – one I was NEVER prepared for. What’s more, this wound/burden has a mental facet as well, wherein I often have to confront my reality/experience with what I know to be the Heavenly Father’s Truth about Himself and His Character (namely His Sovereignty and Faithfulness – two very hard things that finite minds contend with). I’m willing to admit that I sometimes have a tough time wrestling with the idea that He has MY BEST interest at heart; why would He? I am small, broken, and less. It is in these times that I have to remind myself that I am looking at me through the same looking glass that society at large sees me; the same looking glass that says I, and others, are of less worth because the mold culture fabricated to place us in – we don’t fit it, we NEVER will (so much for Carbon Freezing; better luck next time, Ugnaughts). In these times I don’t have forefront in my mind that my Father sees me differently – I am a son to Him, not JUST part of His creation; He says I am worth it and that should be more than enough.

It is easier for someone to expose something within society that they know is a lie if they have experienced it’s devastation, have seen first hand it’s destructive capability, or know full well the lie is active and they were spared it’s consequences by the actions of another.

In the midst of all this, I am blessed. My parents don’t see me the way I often see me and I’ve gotten to the point wherein I’ve realized my close friends don’t either, be they of the Todd, Inklings, Justice League, or Inner Ring variety. One of the greatest weapons to combat against the darker mental and emotion facets of this wound/burden is none other than The FENX. That machine takes what society (and even I sometimes) see as a weakness and helps to make it an asset. As my friend Carl Sears, a producer for NBC Nightly News, once said “The FENX is like Superman’s cape”. It draws attention, it opens doors, and allows me to sometimes broach deeper issues in a way that seems natural; to talk about some of the “how” and “why” of the FENX is to have to broach some of these important realities – to realize that the FENX is a creature of necessity – if I was not as I am, without this wound/burden, the FENX would never have been.

Some of us endure hard things (and sometimes continually) in difficult places which seem beyond our own aptitude. These wounds often exist, so that when we are elevated – it is obvious to all that we could not have done this under our own strength or ability. Rather, it becomes clear that the Master of the Universe is at work. May that realization encourage and especially drive the wounded/burdened ones into closer proximity to the Father, knowing He will use them for His purposes.

Riding Towards Eternity,

Aaron

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Life so far has been full of many crazy (some even fantastic – in the older sense of the word) adventures. As much as this shouldn’t surprise me considering I read things like Dune, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings – and thoroughly enjoy the TRON universe – many times it does. Worth is one of the greatest things humanity struggles with (both internally and externally; self worth and the worth of another) and I sometimes wonder if I am worthy of the adventure I find myself on. From a proper perspective of humility in relation to the Creator and Master of the universe, I’m not – but rather blessed to be on said journey.

Greatest amongst the recent adventures is obviously The FENX Project. I was reminded of this a few nights ago when I had dinner with Carl Sears and his wife Sheila. Carl is the producer behind the NBC News story on Dad, The FENX and I and his wife is the one who helped “discover” us on that late summer night in 2009 when I was driving home from the Capitol and her camera crew spied something coming toward them which they considered to possibly be a UFO, and in a sense the FENX was – in being an unidentifiable object flying past them. (To my friends to who secretly wonder if I’m really from somewhere else, here’s your shot but I am sorry to disappoint.) At dinner we shared memories of that night in July and the surrounding circumstances when it came to working on the NBC project together, such wonderful people. I shared with them a number of unlikely stories involving places like the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Capitol Hill, and reactions from Members of Congress. It occurred to me, as it has many times, that I don’t lead a regular life – even if it seems so normal to me. (I’ve the Creator and my family to thank for that.)

Carl and Sheila opened the door for me to something much bigger than I thought, helped me take my first step into a larger world – as a crazy old man once said. The few opportunities I’ve had to tell the saga of my own life and the FENX Project have been amazing. I’ve been fortunate to be able to tell it over radio waves and in front of the camera and I recently went in front of cameras again to tell the whole tale on an Emmy award winning TV show focusing on issues from a pro-life perspective. We talked about quality of life for individuals who from birth have had physical challenges and long term medical conditions and that quality of life is possible. My own story is proof, I am living breathing proof that pre-judgments made by medical professionals are not always accurate, for one cannot medically assess the human spirit and the drive to persevere which resides within. What’s more: when the Master of the Universe enters into such an equation to ignite the path of destiny within someone He took the time to knit together, all bets are off. It’s why every life matters, why those who are perceived to be “less” by society aren’t – because they have been crafted and gifted differently. I had fleeting moments growing up wishing I could play sports like my younger brother did because I wanted the experience, but also because I wanted to be like everyone else. Sometimes it’s hard to lay down the sword and admit a pursuit like that isn’t the best use of the time, talents, and energy you’d been given – in the end I ended up on Capitol Hill and that desire to be like others and not myself has long faded.

A friend of mine – and fellow fan of the Galaxy Far Far Away – recently told me he thinks that my time in front of a camera with Facing Life Head On is something I was destined to do. Don’t know if he’s right or not, but he probably is.

Some inspire others though their actions, others inspire people by their very existence – because the world thinks they shouldn’t, yet they do; shouldn’t be, yet they are.

Riding Towards Eternity,

Aaron

Although it has been a month since I’ve written in this space it has been a very interesting and adventurous month for The FENX Project. Almost a month ago exactly NBC Nightly News went live with the piece produced by Carl Sears. Since then some very interesting things have happened:

1. Cedarville University has thankfully taken it upon themselves to promote the story in conjunction with a story on me earlier this year.

2. Other opportunities to tell the story of the FENX Project on radio and TV have arisen and right now I’m waiting to see if these opportunities come to fruition

3. I received an e-mail recently from a gentlemen whom I had met on a plane headed to Michigan for Easter this year (and wrote about here) telling me he got to see the FENX piece by NBC and showed it to all his family and friends – making sure they knew he met me on a plane.

4. Finally, one of the greatest FENX related stories yet. It’s no secret that I am a Star Wars Fanboy; some consider me a rolling Star Wars Encyclopedia. Even as I am typing this I’m watching an episode from the new season of the amazing Star Wars: Clone Wars TV show. In the third season opener of this show, which aired a week and a half ago, a new charcter was introduced – a deformed and handicapped clone named Ninety-Nine; a character I identify with. So when my best friend and fellow Fanboy Todd Pugh suggested that I e-mail the minds behind The ForceCast (the premiere podcast concerning ALL thing Star Wars and something I listen to regularly now) I took Todd up on his idea. In doing so I included the story about the FENX and the video from NBC News. The outcome of this is something I’d never have expected – A Star Wars Fan Overcomes the Odds!

Through all these instances I continue to learn that the Master of the Universe does in fact do things beyond what I can ask or imagine, and as a rouge smuggler once said “I can imagine quite a bit

Riding Towards Eternity,

Aaron

Last Friday I received an unexpected but welcome e-mail from Carl Sears, the NBC Nightly News producer who has worked tirelessly to create the NBC story on The FENX Project started in 2004 by my Dad and I. (I wish all folks in the news business were as great as Carl has been.) In the body of the e-mail Carl informed me that the story had gone live on the Internet that morning and that it had been sent to all the local affiliates around the nation. To say I was surprised was an understatement – it had been over a year since the process of creating this news piece started and no one was sure if it would ever air (the hope was always there but the reality of the news business and the need to maintain continuity within a broadcast can make it tough). Since then, the last few days have been a flurry of activity on Facebook and Twitter, responding to comments from people and tracking the different sites and outlets that have hosted the video. It’s a great thing that the world gets to see the FENX and how awesome it is, not to mention getting to “meet” the hero of the story – my Dad. One of the surprising things has been the reaction and support from family and friends around around the country who have shared it with others. At the very beginning of this journey I was keenly aware of the fact that I did not know how the story would end, and I still don’t but as always, the adventure continues to roll on. Back when I was interviewed by Cedarviile University about the FENX, I said that I knew God’s fingerprints had been all over this project from the beginning; it’s still true and we eagerly await what will happen next.

The FENX Project on NBC News

Riding Towards Eternity,

Aaron

Yesterday morning my brother Seth and I caught a flight at Regan National Airport in DC to Detroit Metro in Michigan. It being a Holiday we have some time off and haven’t seen our parents in a while – perfect time to come home. This flight was probably one of the more interesting ones, as I met a man who was returning home to Minnesota with his family after touring the city with his wife and daughter. We spent some time talking about what he does as a parts supplier with IBM and what I do as a Congressional Staffer and what it’s like to work where I do – mostly in the last few weeks with long days and Health Care.

Eventually we got to talking about Dad and the FENX, which always seems to happen these days. At this point it got interesting as he semi-exclaims “you’re THAT guy, we have pictures of you”. Now I have to admit that the first thing that went though my head was the scene from PCU where John Faverau’s character gets told “don’t be that guy” because he was going to a concert wearing the t-shirt of the band he was going to see. So naturally I asked him what he was referring to and he explained that the day before he and his family were in the office building where I work when the evacuation drill started. (When this happens I get down to the FENX as fast as I can and drive it to the meeting point to check in with security and the rest of my office.) This family must have been ushered out as well. As it turns out, they saw me inside the FENX when the drill was over, waiting to get back into my building, and took pictures of the FENX.

At this point, the rest of the family came in on the story and had a lot of great things to say about Dad and his ability to create things. So I began to share other stories, like the NBC Nightly News Saga – which I am still expectantly waiting to air sometime this Spring/Summer. The whole thing was a unique experence, no doubt, but kind of neat. In the words of Jars of Clay, Crazy Times.

I wish these folks luck in their own adventures, especially their daughter, as she strives after her dream of being a ballerina.

Riding Towards Eternity,

Aaron