I met a man today who has eleven children. I have two for which I am immensely proud of and grateful for. But, eleven? I can’t wrap my head around that many mouths to feed and bodies to cloth, etc., etc.. I know there are still large families in our culture, although families of this size are not as common as in past generations. I can imagine all of these children gathered around dad and mom like a flock of ducklings is gathered around their mom…hence this photograph I shot at a local park. I felt it inappropriate to photograph some of these children which I have seen. That would have been an affront to their privacy, and I doubt father would have approved.
You must understand the circumstances which aroused my curiosity enough for me to engage the dad. We both work out rather early at a health club during the week, and I see him arrive and leave with about five of his older children whom he brings with him. After witnessing this dynamic enough times, I asked him his name and if he didn’t mind sharing about the children. His name is Travis, and he is thirty-six years old. He and his wife adopted ten of their eleven children. The adopted children are of color while he is not so the contrast is rather evident. Some of the adopted children come from the same biological parents, but Travis was quick to point out that he and his wife are their parents now. I asked him how they came to adopt so many and he simply said that the need was great. That was the end of our conversation, except I let him know that I respected him. I walked away knowing that Travis was a humble man. He could have expounded about the decision to adopt, the difficulties involved, the amount of energy and time and resources it takes to care for these kids, but he didn’t. He simply said there was a great need and he and his wife did their part. I was humbled.
This post really isn’t so much about a thirty-six year old man with ten adopted children, although that is the reality. No, this post is about humility which seems too often to be a dying art in our culture of me-ism. The beauty of humility is that you don’t know the extraordinary things people are doing unless someone draws your attention to him or her. The contrast to this is reflected in our social media where folks can’t get enough of themselves plastered on screens and websites. Athletes, actors and politicians seem to have another special place when it comes to self-promotion. Occasionally, we witness a well-known individual who reflects the trait of true humility. I recall Kevin Durant’s acceptance speech last year for receiving the MVP award in the NBA. Stunningly humble.
There are Travis’ and Kevins’ all over the world. There are young and old, male and female, healthy and the infirmed who exemplify the trait of humility. The great thing about all of these unsung heroes is that we don’t know many of them unless we are close to them and know their deeds and hearts. I am pleased to state that my wife and children are humble which brings me joy. And, I count it a privilege to have met Travis who has reminded me that true heroes do exist. They are all around me…and you!
” I feel the earth move under my feet. I feel the sky tumbling down. I feel my heart start to tremble whenever your around…” Carol King wrote and sang this iconic song back in 1971. It was featured on her Tapestry album, along with, It’s Too Late to Turn Back Now, another big hit. For some reason unknown to me, I often think of songs when I see something unusual or that I want to shoot…usually after the image is captured. That’s what came to mind when I down loaded these photos and decided to post them.As soon as I saw the track hoe loading a dump truck, high atop a large rock and earthen outcropping, I knew I had to immediately stop on the shoulder of the exit ramp and take these pictures. I think it was the dark equipment silhouetted before the beautiful sunrise that grabbed me so strongly. Fortunately, I had my camera next to me which is usually the case, as I am an opportunistic photographer. For those interested, this construction work is but a small piece of a giant redesign of a major interchange which includes the confluence of three highways, located in a southern suburb of Kansas City. This construction, know as Gateway, is the largest single highway construction project that KDOT has ever engineered and attempted. It will take about three years to complete. As you can imagine, there will be orange cones, barricades, closed ramps, traffic jams and fender benders to add to the excitement ! Hopefully, the end result will be worth all the effort and cost.
I wonder how many hours and days it has taken this hawk to learn the art of graceful flight. To land atop a pole which provides the best vantage point for searching out prey is instinctive behavior. But, to land correctly, balance in the wind, and turn this way and that takes practice. And, practice takes time.I wonder what the reason was for this bird of prey to suddenly stand erect, then tilt forward in preparation for flight? Did he see something he wanted or did he not see the prize and decided to move to another location which offered a better view? Or, did he simply become bored? Do birds get bored, anyway? Do they think or merely act as a result of their genetic code? One fact we know is they have great eyesight and lightning fast reflexes.I wonder if the hawk’s decision to vault off the pole arose purely from instinct or was it a conscious decision? Like a sprinter leaving the starting blocks in a race so this predator leaped from his perch-wings fully outstretched-to swoop down and then rise up again to his next destination. Is there something going on besides the obvious? Nature moves in rhythm: the moon waxes and wanes, the tides go in and out, the sun rises and sets…constantly repeating the same cycles over and over again. I have noticed most, if not all, created life has cyclical aspects to it. Animals do. Birds and fish and insects do. Plants and trees do. And, people do. In many ways we are no different than the rest of God’s creation. However, there is something that sets us apart-something wonderful. It is more than just our souls, because all of God’s creatures must have some sort of soul (at least animals!), although they differ from mans’. We were created in God’s image while the animal kingdom was a created entity which was to be cared for by people. To me, the wondrous difference is that we have been given the ability to enjoy a personal relationship with our Creator! Shaky theology, you say? Perhaps. One day I will know for sure, and hopefully you will, too. In the meantime, I will try to keep my spirit flying as high as I possibly can. I do admit there are times when this can be very difficult. I think wings would help…a lot.