Wednesday, January 1, 2014

What Can I Do?

The Past arrived today! Younger Wayne wrote me a note two years ago on December 31, 2011 (I was following the example of my daughter Esther who had earlier sent such an email through -see my blog about that from December 2011).

I am not a prophet but what I imagined in this span of 24 months doesn’t seem to have been unrealistic or impractical. I thought by now that I’d be writing and teaching delicious college courses and celebrating the publication of Esther’s Book, and I am! It’s a gorgeous book, a living tribute to a gracious soul. I love this role as author after dreaming a very long time about becoming one (Advice to aspiring writers: start earlier and stay later). My hope now is that I am less full of myself so that I might focus more completely on my readers. I cannot change anything in the past though I can shape the future by ‘being the change I want to see’ as Gandhi said (Of course, I teach college philosophy and think I understand the free will versus determinism debate pretty well. At 20, I only believed in free will. Now, I mostly think we have little to no choice. But that’s a topic for a future blog).

Lori didn’t end up working as a K-12 educational administrator as I had expected but instead chose wisely to focus her vocational energies on the development of our foundation ( which has now resulted in the distribution of over $130,000 to many needy families! I am convinced that she’d a made a great principal, but that wasn’t her true passion. By choosing to develop our non-profit, she’s unstoppable and, on the day she oversees total gifts given of one million dollars, she’ll have only just begun.

I had hoped to be a better dad. In many ways, I think I am! But I’m not nearly as accessible as I could be. My girls have moved out –Abby to California and Evangeline to college in Vermont and I don’t expect they’ll be coming home again, as long term residents, anyway. I should have tried harder to be more of a dad and friend to these adult daughters and to my young sons. It’s not easy for me to make friends, even in my own family, maybe especially there. I admire my children immensely and feel that they will do much good as they navigate their mutual, maturing lives. If we are true to family tradition, we’ll remain a close unit, though likely geographically apart, which has its advantages -and disadvantages, some of which have tormented me a bit. Going forward into time and space, I cannot imagine a life separate from them and away from any grandchildren that we may be graced with. I do have a Plan of Engagement and am hopeful that Future Wayne will be brave enough to follow through.

I still believe today what I wrote 731 days ago as I closed the aforementioned letter to my future self. Two years on, the mystery deepens, love endures, faith and hope abide.

When this letter arrives,
if I am not there to receive it (being gone, really gone. Dead!),
note: I am not really gone
just away
if I can get through to you, my Love
I will!
If not, read my writings (which are muddled paintings of where I am now)
My last words were (probably) “I’m ready”
My first words in heaven were:

Therefore we have hope. Plunging head first into 2014 I remain wide awake to the reality that it matters little what I think or do, but also fiercely convinced that my actions and thoughts just might make a difference for someone, somewhere. I can do that much.
Family Earl at Vidcon. August 2013.


  1. I needed to read this, Wayne. I can't put into words *why*, but it resonates with me.

  2. Thanks Zach! I've been to Carson City and your situation sounds like you've won the lottery! Great place to grow in spirit. Played in the snow there with my future wife when we were just friends (We're still friends!). Just more of a challenge getting up from the snow now.

  3. I truly have! And I pray I do grow here! I've only been here a month, but I'm truly considering settling down here, even after I leave the program (with lots of traveling, hopefully!).

    And it truly is a lovely little city! I got my first big snow about a week after I moved in. Needless to say, I was completely unprepared -- but learned fast! I'm glad you have such good memories of it!

    Well, here's to 2014. :) May it be kind to us, and give us the opportunity to help those who need it.

  4. Hi Wayne, my name is Laura and I am a fan of Esther.
    I was reading "this star won't go out" and this makes me thinking about the life..
    Esther had so many problems and she was always happy and so strong, she is a true star and you and your family deserve the best, for caring about her, and giving her so many reasons to smile! I'm sure she had the best parents!
    I know is impossible, but if you read this someday, send me an e-mail, I will be very grateful (my e-mail is
    Thank you so much, I learned so many precious thing about life with that book!

    Always a fan
    obs: I am fan of all the family