The Spotlight


There is a discomfort being the son of a famous man. I remembered how I had felt in the 4th grade over all this attention when you father was giving a speech at your school, in front of the entire school. From about the age of 12, I handled the attention better, but with a blush that could not be hidden, when perhaps I wanted to hide. Or flee from the spotlight. After about the age of 18, I seemed to have escaped to discover my own personality. In another state. At the age of 18 I felt like I had begun to establish my own identity.

That blush mechanism is quite a gift. This month the spotlight was back, along with an inner restlessness. It was unsettling to be brought out of my cave for a weekend. In front of a very very large crowd. Certainly the largest crowd in the state this week. Restless, perhaps, because my metabolism no longer produces a blush.

I handled it better when I blushed. In a sense that blushing mechanism, in the quest for identity, was an inward sense of embarrassment over all that I was inheriting, with an inward sense that I was not worthy of all of this. And here was a powerlessness involved, as no one could control a blush. In a sense my recent restlessness was over the missing blush, that outward sign to the world of inner restlessness.

In a sense my recent weekend in a spotlight made me reflect at a lesson I learned at the point in my life after 10 years in the world of business. I witnessed anger one day, a redness, and I could see the anger was not actually directed at me. I remembered an awakening, not to take any of it personally. At least in the business world.

The prophet is never welcome in his hometown. I have two friends who I met in high school, both of whom went to Jesuit universities separated by 1400 miles. People I have known who had both left there hometown, established a growing identity, and came back. They both spent post graduate years at the same college. They are sons of well-known fathers.

This month, in a way perhaps that only their families now could see, their families came in conflict. It is apt to become deeply personal. In a public spotlight. Those relationships, over the state of the world.

That boy in the temple. Who stayed out of the spotlight. From the age of 12 through the age of 30. Under parents who somehow knew the importance of keeping the world away. That boy in the temple who had to take everything personally and discover some kind of response to all of it. Who had to make his own resolution, however divinely inspired. Outside of any real spotlight. Away from the stage. In a quiet place. In school.

That boy in the temple, who stayed out of the spotlight. So this son of God could find his placed in the real world. Witnessing the joy and the pain of ordinary life. And learning to take things personally, without a metabolism that produced a blush. Because he had a Father who had to take everything personally. And because he had to discover some kind of response to all of it.

Taking things personally. When so many do not to take any of it personally? Son of God, and having to take everything personally. Wow! How do you come to grips with that? And then over the state of the world.

Boys wanting to prove greatness….in games, in school, in business. Boys all trying to prove our worth. The irony was that in the process as boys were all trying to prove our worth, most of us never learned humility.

Wanting to prove greatness….how do you come to grips inside and outside the spotlight, over the state of the world? Amidst the quest for identity which could never be escaped from?

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