Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Sometimes, I feel the fear of uncertainty stinging clear
And I can't help but ask myself how much I let the fear
Take the wheel and steer
It's driven me before
And it seems to have a vague, haunting mass appeal
I think it is very safe to say that all of us encounter a time in our lives where we are presented with opportunities. A place where we find ourselves standing there questioning what to do? Where to go? Why?
Those big decisions, recently I've started calling doors.
You find yourself standing before a door, or a decision, and you don't know if you should open it or let it pass you by.
Through talking with many of my friends and family, it's pretty clear that everyone has these doors/decisions to make in their lives. The thing that fascinates me is how vastly different people's doors look like. When I say that, I don't mean how vastly different the opportunities are, that fascinates me as well, but more or less the process. How different people react to their doors, and how in some people's lives there seems to be a pattern.
But I can't speak for all those people, I can only speak for myself.
I have had many different decisions in my life, as everyone has. But when I look back, the ones before high school, they weren't detrimental things. The decision to have barbecue chips or sour cream and onion with my sandwich was probably the biggest decision I had to make. There were a couple earth shattering decisions I had to make in high school, but nothing compares to all the decisions I've had to make after high school.
After I graduated in May of 2009, I had no idea what I was going to do. All through high school my dream was to be in a band and just tour the country with my friends, making a little bit of money off of the tasty jams that we put together. But after about 2 years of playing together, and realizing we didn't have one complete song, we had enough. My best friend and I, couldn't stand each other when we were playing music together so we decided the best thing to do was to stop being a band so we could be friends. So that left me in the summer of '09, for lack of a better term, completely screwed. I had no back up plan, no real dreams or desires to chase other than the music one that failed, so I just started to coast a little bit. I spent that summer working for my dad and hanging with my brothers, and then August rolled around.
In the middle of August of that year, my life long best friend Nathan Graves was turning 18. So as happened pretty frequently, Mrs. Kim flew me down to surprise Nathan and spend the weekend with the Florida Family. The weekend went so well, and I felt more at peace with something in me than ever before. Something about this place, that I didn't even really like mind you, something about this place was calling me.
So I prayed, I prayed and prayed and prayed, and I finally came to a conclusion thanks to many prayers and many many chips and salsa from Lorrie Harden. I felt that my heart was pulling me to Florida for some reason. I had a room with the Graves, but that was pretty much it. haha. I didn't really have a master plan or anything, I just felt my heart pulling me there. Well, as any idiot with a dream would do, I confronted my mother cold turkey. Yeah... That didn't go so well. Word to the wise, give your mother some hints before you drop a bomb like that, especially if your mother is Diana Pemelton(Tucker, Cooper, be taking notes.) I had no reason to move to Florida other than my heart, so without diving into a bigger story, that door closed. The thing that I found amazing though, was at the same time as the Florida door, I had a second door was right next to me.
I've always found in my life that God gives me two doors at any major crossroad in my life.
Door 1: Florida
Door 2: Austin Peay State University
I found that I got accepted into Austin Peay State University and that I would be receiving Financial Aid covering the whole year. So the Florida door slammed in my face, and I walked through the Austin Peay Door still holding my broken nose from the last slammed door.
It ended up being a very good thing that the Florida door closed. Later that year, my Papa died. I only had one grandfather growing up, and that was my Papa. I could write 35 blogs about how much I loved and respected my Papa. So in saying that you can imagine how hard that year was for me, and also for my dad. I knew that I needed to be there in that situation, I needed to be there with my dad as he was going through maybe the hardest thing in his life, as Papa began to slip with the cancer. I don't regret staying in Nashville that year at all. In fact I thank God that I was there.
But that pulling in my heart was still there.
After a couple more months and many more chips and salsa talks with my second mama, Lorrie Harden(I have 2 second Mom's, Lorrie and Kim, Sorry if you get confused, but its my life, I'm not confused. haha) ANYWAYS after talks with Lorrie Harden and prayer, and through this blog, I came to the realization that what I love doing is writing. And then I pieced together my love and admiration for movies and filming video projects and realized that I wanted to pursue film. The doors began to open.
Stars started to align and life started pulling me back towards florida again, but this time I had a plan. I would move to declare residency and then begin the process of applying to the film program at the University of Central Florida. I confronted my parents again, but was met with a completely different answer this time. I remember walking in my moms room one morning and she looked at me and said, "Tanner you need to go. I can't watch you walk around here depressed and worn all the time, I want you here, but I want you happy too. You need to talk to your dad." That shocked me, still shocks me that she said it, but she did. So then I did the hardest thing I've ever done, I talked to my dad, my best friend, about leaving the house. It was so hard, but he saw my plan, and he couldn't say no.
So life was starting to shape up towards a door again, and then right before I was set to leave God did that thing and he opened another door.
As some of you know, I was heavily invested in my youth group growing up. It was a huge part in my life, so much so that after I graduated, I stuck with it and became a youth leader and or a small group leader. It was hard feeling myself pulling away from the youth group because of my plans for Florida, but I was managing and doing well.
Right before I was set to leave Tennessee, the pastor in charge of all family ministries called me in to meet with him. So, I gladly went to the meeting and we talked about the plans for Florida and everything going on in my life. He then acknowledge my dreams, but then offered me a paid internship with my church...
Door 1: Florida
Door 2: Working for Crosspoint
Honestly, I was pissed.
I said things to God, that He'll probably confront me on again in heaven, and I'll look at him and be like, "Yeah, sorry G, but I still think you were a jerk for doing that. I don't like our 2 door thing. It pisses me off." haha Yes, I know, very reverent, but hey He calls for honesty, I'm just being honest.
I hated that God would put me in that position to have to chose between those two doors. So I stood with both hands on both handles and prayed, and I felt God was still pulling me towards Florida. So in August of last year, I opened the door and jumped through it. As most of you know I now live in Land O' Lakes, Florida because of that door.
I've had a couple other crossroads in my life recently that happened the EXACT same way. God opens one door, and then 10 minutes later He opens another one. It's like He gives me one thing, waits for a second, shows another door and then smiles and says, "Choose."
I went for a walk the other night. Walking and riding a bike in the night for some reason is one of my absolute favorite things to do when my mind is starting to go haywire. Something about the night just puts things into perspective for me. I think I love the fact that in the night, like my decisions, I can't really see what's in front of me. I love the fact that I'm riding into the darkness but a street light is illuminating the street in front of me, and eventually I'll get to the light.
On that night walk I had nice heart to heart/cuss out with God about our little two door system.
After praying about it more and more, I finally have come to a realization about it.
I think He does that for me... because I'm me.
I'm a person who likes options, I love being able to choose, I don't like feeling cornered. Corners freak me out, and I do not thrive in them, ask all my elementary teachers who tried to put me in the corner. But unlike God, i didn't have the ability to cuss them out. haha
But I realized on my walk, I would feel somewhat trapped if He only gave me one door.
And I also realized, He uses the two doors in my life to emphasize things. When I had to decide between Florida and Austin Peay, He still was emphasizing Florida. The desire and pull on my heart was there, it was like He was saying, "Tanner, remember this door."
When I came to the decision between Florida and working for Crosspoint I really feel that it was vital for me to see both doors. Honestly, my family and church was the only things that made me second guess leaving Nashville. And when the pastor proposed the internship to me, sure it was tempting, but I could also feel that burn for Florida a little more. When I had the two options I could see, Florida had more for me.
So even though I'll probably still look up to the heavens and shout my curses to God when I encounter those doors, I know He does it out of Love and out of respect for me and my fear of corners. I am so blessed in my life to even have the opportunities that I have, and I thank God for them, but not nearly enough.
So now you know what my doors look like, what do yours look like? Does God open one door and kick you through it? Do you also get two doors, maybe 3? Is there pattern in your life with your opportunities?
You may not have ever looked at those times in your life very closely, and if so, you're normal don't worry. haha.
I don't know why I've scrutinized those times in my life, but I'm glad I have. I feel that I am growing closer to God every time I realized things like this.
So God, sorry for the foul words, but bring on the doors man.
Can't wait to see what we decide together.
Media Associated With This Post:
Album: Make Yourself
All pictures found on Google Images
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
I've seen the best and worst of you
But we're sticking through.
Cause without all of the ups and downs we've been through
You know that its true,
That I could get really sick and tired of you.
-Four Year Strong
Today is just one of those days where you wish the world would stop spinning. No matter how loud you scream, you want the world to just stop.
It takes days like today for me to realize just how fast this life is.
Today my little brother turns 18.
In the eyes of the law he is an adult.
I don't even really know where to start on this post... For those of you who do not know Cooper, 1st off shame on you, and 2nd, I'll do you courtesy of telling you about him.
Me and Cooper go way back, 18 years back to be exact(as Dr. Seuss might say).
Cooper is by far the coolest kid(now adult) that I know. He is smart, funny, uber talented and one of the most caring people you could ever meet. His introvert ways could lead you to think otherwise, but when you really break the exterior of Cooper Pemelton you see the amazing heart that he has been given. It has been quite a long time since I have blogged and a lot of things have been going on in my brothers life that some of you guys do not know about. One amazing thing that my brother has going on in his life right now is the fact that he is about to embark on a missions trip to Kenya, Africa. Yeah, I said it, the dark continent. In June, he will be boarding a plane and for a week be staying in the slums of Kenya, just to help in any way that he can.
I honestly couldn't be more proud of my brother.
Its honestly just amazing to think that my little brother, my best friend, has become the man he is today. Because anyone who knows Cooper, knows he had a rough start.
Before Cooper was born, my parents tried for months to settle on a name. A couple names passed through their heads like, Patrick, Alec, Nathaniel, all these before settling on Cooper. But the one name they should have picked during the first couple years of Coopers life.... is Damien.
Let's face it. Cooper was a little demon. I love sitting down and hearing the stories of Cooper as a kid, maybe because it makes me sound like an angel. haha. First off, Cooper was sent here on a mission, ask my mother. Cooper just flew out. There was no drawn out labor, no epidural. Nope, Cooper just was ready and just walked right out. The doctors were barely ready, they through on the gloves and then had to yell for my dad because he walked out of the room to make a phone call.(For any of you who know my dad, come on, that's funny. He's the same guy that stopped at mcdonalds while following my mom in an ambulance. Don't be alarmed she wasn't dying. She just was having her 5th kid. After 4 kids you're allowed to stop and get breakfast first.) But back to cooper! Cooper was just a sneeze and then he was there. It was actually quite similar to the birth in the movie Simon Birch, if any of you have seen that amazing film.
That day marked the birth of my best friend. From that day on I always had someone to play with. Cooper and I did everything together growing up. We'd play in our rooms for hours standing on our beds trying to keep our feet from the burning lava, that in reality, was just carpet. We'd stay up and trick our babysitters into thinking we were allowed to watch movies that weren't allowed to see, and then cringe when we saw all the parts that dad would always fast forward through in Jurassic Park. Our days were spent climbing trees, and using our imaginations. We didn't have these "video games" that kids spend their lives playing. We played outside till it got dark.
Those were the good ole days, and then something awful happened.
I turned 12 or 13.
I'm just gonna lay it out like it is. I was a complete jerk when I was 12. My search was to be "cool." Being one of the cool guys at school meant you had to be somewhat of a jerk and make smart ass comments all the time. I know what a lot of you are thinking, "He hasn't changed one bit, he's still a jerk." haha Yes, at times, I may be, and yes the smart aleck comments aren't going away any time soon. If they make you laugh, I'm gonna do it. But who I am today does not at all account for the jerk I was to my brother Cooper. I don't have any regrets in my life, except one. And I've already made my peace about that with my brother. I feel awful for the way I treated him during those couple of years between 12 and 14.
But then something awesome happened.
My head shrunk back down to normal size. I realized, again, that my brother Cooper was actually pretty awesome. It was probably around 14 or 15 when me and Cooper started to grow as close as we are today.
When I think of all the crap I did in high school and all the fun times, Cooper was there for most of those times. Cooper was always there. When my friends weren't there, Cooper always had my back.
After I graduated high school, a lot of things just fell away, which is normal, but not Coop. When my friends from high school kind of started to fizzle out, I turned to my brother. I can't tell you how many hundreds of times me and Cooper would just jump in my car and go. Normally we'd head to our favorite place on earth, MCKAY's USED MUSIC AND BOOKS, or the best eatery in Nashville, Checkers, or Sam's Kabob. It is one of the thing that I miss the most in my life right now...
As most of you know I moved to Florida back in August. The hardest thing for me was leaving my family. In retrospect nothing else caused me to second guess my decision, just my family. My family is a huge part of me, and that includes my brother Cooper. Not having my best friend here with me in Florida is so hard. Its hard not to have him here meeting my new friends, and experiencing all my new experiences... But that's a part of growing up. I hate it, HATE it, but it is.
I look at Cooper now, and I can't do anything but smile and feel such warmth in my chest. The guy has everything in the world going for him. As I've said, he's smart, he's funny, He's now a lead singer of a band that is about to start taking over Nashville's hardcore scene. He is a pretty awesome guy...
When trying to describe the love I have for Cooper there is a error. There is such a fallacy in the English translation of the word "Love." The best word I can use to describe the relationship I have with my brother is the Greek word, "Philia." Philia means friendship or brotherly love in modern Greek. It is a dispassionate virtuous love, a concept developed by Aristotle. It includes loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality and familiarity(Wikipedia Definition). Cooper meets all of those qualifications in the word Philia.
He has always been loyal, trustworthy and a good brother.
One of the things that has always terrified me is knowing that I cast somewhat of a shadow. I'm not conceited in saying that at all, I just know that I cast a bit of a shadow. Cooper, I hope you know that you are so far and above that shadow its not even funny. I hope you don't think that you have some expectation to live up to, because you've already surpassed that in all that you've done man. I wish in high school that I was just 1/5 as cool and as good of a person as you are. I know that you are going to go so far in your life and I am going to able to just sit back and watch it all unfold. Nothing excites me more than that thought. I can't wait to see all of your gifts and talents be put into play.
I thank God that He gave me such an amazing little brother...
I'll never forget all the amazing times and hard times we've had together...
I'll never let my relationship with my brothers ever fizzle out, but with Cooper... I don't think that's gonna be much of a challenge.
Cooper is my brother and my best friend.
I am so blessed to have been touched by such an awesome human being.
To be able to call that man a brother, is the biggest honor I have in my life.
And now he is 18.
He's a freaking man.
But he knows that
He has always been the man,
But I'm proud to say that he's not only that to me,
I have the honor and privilege of calling him my brother, and my best friend.
Love ya buddy.
Sad enough to say that
Alone I could barely light a match
But together we can burn this place down.
-Four Year Strong
Media Associated With This Post:
Song: Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die
Artist: Four Year Strong
Album: Rise or Die Trying
Photo Credits to Bret Pemelton and Photo Credit to Anya Harding for the Top Photo.