I’m currently sitting in a house I share with six other guys. Adam is on the couch, there is a large cardboard box next to me, and I felt the urge (yesterday) to write about, rather than make a film about, my 2015 year. Thankfully my mom will read this whole thing so don’t feel bad if you leave to check a snapchat from your ‘friend’ who you’ve had the red heart with since the update back in July. Mom, thank you for reading this and dad, (who is undoubtedly on his iPad with Bluetooth keyboard) thank you for pushing me to make life more challenging so I can be a better man.
2015, the year Ryan Seacrest landed a movie gig for Christopher Nolan (the new joker, YOU HAVEN’T HERD?!) and the year I learned how to eat meat properly (as of December 27th, thanks Aunt Coleen).
From the week before I started college, I have wanted to drop out, but I didn’t. The thought came and went a couple times between week 1 of freshman year (August 2013) and the beginning of 2015. As 2015 started school seemed pretty cool, classes were great… I think...(skiing seemed more fun. JK mom), and I spent over 900 dollars on ski gear and lift tickets which got me through the deathly short days of the Pacific North West winter.
In March I drove home to Santa Barbara with Zach and Noah where we were in the car for 24 hours, pushed through the night, got to town at 630 in the morning, slept on top of some bed sheets because my parents were renting our house out for the weekend so we couldn’t get them dirty, woke up at 1030am, went to the beach, then climbed a rock wall and hammocked at the top with our friends, the spiders (they live a couple doors down), the frogs (Alex Prokch), and Nathaniel, Isaiah, and Max. That entire spring break trip story was irrelevant (but here is the one picture I saved before I dropped my phone in the ocean).
We came back to school and one of the first weeks I went on craigslist to procrastinate from writing a paper, saw a VW Vanagon for sale, called the guy, and three days later drove three hours to buy it (I had money because I returned a bunch of ski gear to REI, shout out that return policy). I spent the majority of spring quarter fixing up the van (which was in…quite honestly, terrible condition). During the season of the Ham Van 1 (we are calling it) I started questioning why the heck I was in college. I was absolutely convinced that this was the final time I would consider this; I was dropping out. I called dad and told him I could sleep out of my van and film weddings for a living, he said some choice words, along with Mom and Ross’s help, and I reconsidered. Then my van blew up (quite literally…ask Jaymie Towne or Taylor Hentchell) so there went my real estate (according to my uncle, the market was supposed to crash around that time so it was inevitable, really). I sold it, cut my losses, and committed to living in Seattle in the ‘Hamquarters’ on Mercer Island over the summer. Sort of last minute I landed a bunch of video gigs (shout out Jesus for sending Char Beck and Joe Tobiason my way) and was able to pay rent and buy food.
Sometime in June mom and dad drove their van up from California and left it for a week while they went back to work, before returning back up to Seattle for Ross and Emily’s wedding. They planned on leaving the car in our driveway for a week (yeah?) and I thought I’d see if I could take it on a road trip to…I dunno…Montana? Mom and Dad (more importantly Dad because it’s his baby) said yes and I left on a ‘road trip’ to go ‘check out’ Glacier National Park. (quick, rewind a month, I asked a really pretty blonde friend on a date and she said yes (I think more out of shock that a dude with engine grease on his face, rubber gloves on his hands, and pants stained by anti-freeze, grease…and subway mayonnaise I had the day before) so we rode the moped (49cc that takes 15 minutes to warm up) to a sit down (on little mini couches and eat with our hands) restaurant…(dang I need to work on my structure sentence.) Someone…perhaps the friend I took to dinner, might have been working at Glacier National Park around the same time I was driving out there to ‘check it out.’ Needless to say, it was an amazing trip and we became more than friends or, to put it in Millennial terminology: boyfriend and girlfriend, or to put it in a way that would make sense to my parents (no intention to put you guys on blast) we were ‘going steady’ as you can probably tell from the photos :).
Back to Seattle, Ross and Emily got married, I took a bunch of Young Life guys I didn’t know at the time to camp in Oregon, went to a family reunion in Idaho, shot 8 weddings, flew to Oklahoma 3 times to film for the Greater Foundation (a non-profit working with college football to promote being a better man outside of the game), hiked a couple peaks, bought a VW Vanagon (turnnn up Ham Van 2), flew to California and drove back three days later, and spent a LOT of late nights with my computer on the kitchen burners (because I like standup desks) editing footage and logging hours making the most ridiculous snap stories (for over age 35: https://support.snapchat.com/ca/stories) I could. (Photos in order of commas)
Ali got back from Montana with a month more of summer to spare. I shot my last wedding and we spent as much time outside as we possible could before the depths of winter crawled in on us like the monsters (mine looked like spiders) we all imagined when we were 5 (admit it) in our dark room after the nightlight got turned off by mom when she thought you were asleep.
The day before school started I fully questioned again whether or not I was going to college. I was, yet again, fully convinced that I needed to drop out and pursue my creative passions. I went against everything that I felt was right at the time, followed through to start class the next day, and most importantly, trusted that the Lord would provide in my decision. Everything rolled out, classes seemed easy until the first week was over and reading the syllabus was no longer an assignment, and Ali, I, and friends tried to get out every weekend we possibly could.
I joined a discipleship group with a couple of friends and kept leading the group of Young Life guys over on Mercer Island that I had taken to camp earlier in the summer. I also shot two more weddings, a video for a law firm, and pushed myself artistically to branch out and try video art (yes, I did receive 5 college credits for this class) and actually really dug it. There were a couple good breaks in there, mom and dad visiting on a whim and Thanksgiving with the Sowers family being an all around highlight (picture on right). The end of the quarter felt like I was swimming up to my neck in work, both schoolwork and video/photo work. I have never worked harder and never been more disciplined than those last three weeks of class. I finished well (big and small) and boosted that GPA high enough to get some breaks on car insurance.
Winter break hits, I load up all my stuff into my van in the pouring rain as 58,000,000,000 cubic feet of water fell over Seattle within 48 hours. (shout out Ed Smyth, talk to him for fact checking) I drove straight home, with a pit stop in Olympia, WA to say bye to Ali and her fam before not seeing her for a few weeks.
Winter break was rad (if your still reading……thank you). I worked for my dad, worked with my dad, under my car, our knuckles bled, I still have a scab, all of our family converged for Christmas, the surf was beautiful, the best Christmas present arrived on the 27th (Ali) and we all lived the dream in Santa Barbara for a week before making the push away from the sun, and back into the depths of winter (kinda like the monster from when you were 5…accept we chose to face the monster because it was time we conquered our fears) via a drive up the 1 and 101 with our good friends Isaiah and Sydney.
Now here I am…the scene around me has changed a little now. Adam is gone, there is a ten-dollar bill next to me for a wifi payment, and Max and Zach are hanging glow-in-the-dark stars in our room.
WHAT HAVE I LEARNED (hopefully that will grab your attention if you scrolled to the bottom looking for more pictures)
I have learned three things this year: trust, everything is a choice, and the true value of community.
Putting trust in something or someone has always, always disappointed me. Take my van for example, I started to trust in it to the point of where I started to lack true appreciation for the gift it really was and it broke and cost me 2200 dollars to fix. Disappointing...a bummer...yeah it really sucked...a lot... The same thing can happen with people, when I put my trust, my hope fully in them, they will always let me down. When I put my trust in Jesus, He can handle it because He loves me (us) unconditionally and He asks me (us) to put trust in Him so that I (we) can give our other relationships freedom and grace. I put my trust in Jesus when I decided to stay in college and finish strong. Everything was telling me (maybe not everything…perhaps more my sense of adventure) that school was the worse option and I could save money and still have a job working for myself. I went into the unknown and stayed in school; I trusted.
Trusting is a choice. Just like waking up in the morning and getting your hair cut is a choice, or cooking eggs with chicken broth to add extra nutrients so you don't have to eat a piece of toast...is a choice. I made a choice, earlier in my life, to follow Jesus. I thought it was a one time thing. "Great, I choose to follow Jesus! I follow Him now." What I realized this year was, every day I need/want to make the choice to follow Him, to love like He loves, to listen to Him when He is trying to challenge me, to push me out of my comfort zone, when He is telling me to let go and trust Him with my whole life. I choose to live in or out of my insecurities, I choose to doubt or not to doubt, I choose to be a man or not be a man after God's own heart.
Trust and choices effect a community, because I am a part of a community and my actions, undoubtedly, effect others. This is where I learned the true value in community. I want my actions to effect my community in a positive way and ultimately, I want to bring glory to The Kingdom in everything I say, do, and think. Friends have been here to hold me accountable to these goals, to push me toward these goals, to challenge me, and encourage me more towards Jesus. Obviously (through both photos and words)I am blow away by how much I have experienced and learned through community this year. I challenge you: wake up every morning and make a choice to love. It could blow you away.
Here is a song lyric by Kings Kaleidoscope that will forever be engrained in my mind (hit up Zach Meyers firstname.lastname@example.org snapchat: @zacharymeyers for the full story…it’s pretty dope) and that constantly served as a good reminder for me throughout 2015:
See the ravens
they can't farm
don't have silos
truck or barns
But our God sees their needs
and He loves them and He feeds them everyday
If you took the time to read through this whole thing then dang, I’ll take you out to coffee (or hot chocolate if you vibe on that too…maybe tea but I would suggest just boiling some water and bringing a teabag to the coffee shop). Actually serious about the coffee thing though….or hot chocolate.