Monday, December 30, 2013

They're Olan-ly Young Once *rimshot*

I've had a blog post rattling around in my head lately, which is unusual because it's been so long since I even logged in over here, and even longer since I've had room in my head for anything but school work and- well, that's about it. I haven't been able to shake it, so I thought I'd take advantage of this little break, share a few thoughts, and see what happens:

A few weeks ago, a pastor at church said something that really struck a chord in my heart -- it's something I had heard before, but in this case, it sounded brand spankin' new-

"Worship and service and offerings aren't a burden when we really know who God is.  They're a natural response to His love and grace.  When we really realize how great He is, we can't help but offer up our best."

This immediately reminded me of a story I've been wanting to share-  

Last year sometime, my kids...

 (it's been a while, so let me remind you that all my little children have grown and grown and grown and now they're all tall, giraffe-like teenagers. The boy is 18 and the girls are 14 and I am pretty much an old lady)

... anyway, my kids had been going on and on about this YouTube dude. I was noticing that  they were becoming big fans, and had watched all his videos and were asking for merchandise from his website. Somehow because I am now the aforementioned old lady I have been kind of BUSY WITH STINKING GOING BACK TO COLLEGE FOR SOME STUPID REASON THAT I CAN'T EVEN REMEMBER NOW, I had sort of missed out on the trend. I felt like my grandparents as I heard myself asking,  "Who is this Olan Rogers fellow anyhow?" - and hoping that as they were gathered around the computer, laughing hysterically, that my negligence hadn't led to my children being corrupted by some inappropriate jackal. (oh dear, did I just use the words "fellow" and "jackal?" - old lady words for certain!)

Ashamed of both being out of the loop and neglecting my motherly filtering duties, I took some time to research that "Olan Rogers fellow"- come to find out he's just a genuinely funny aspiring director and master storyteller who keeps it relatively* clean as he spins his special style of dramatic tale. (*why relatively? Well, it just depends on your viewpoint on what is offensive. If you draw a hard line at bathroom humor or substitutionary swear words, you might be offended, so be warned.  If you are a 12 year old boy at heart, and find both hilarious, here are a couple of examples: The Ghost in the Stalls  The Midnight Claw).  More research revealed that Mr. Rogers is also open about his faith in Jesus Christ.  Even better.

I heard some chatting about the "Eat a Slice with Me" tour in July sometime, but still didn't pay attention until I was driving home on Monday (IT WAS A MONDAY) from work, and my son tells me that he'd like to drive to Los Angeles with his girlfriend and sisters to meet Olan. WHAT? (For those who don't know, our tiny little suburban town is at least an hour away from LA and filled with suburban people who are not real live city folk who are probably MURDERERS OR WORSE, and my son is used to sharing the roads with tumbleweeds and minivans not MURDERERS OR WORSE). My brain was spinning around and around, trying to figure out what to do because in order to make it to this shindig (another old lady word for you), a person would have to hit the road in no fewer than 20 minutes (I was 20 minutes from home), she would need to have a car filled with gas and enough seats for the all the people (I had that), she would have to be willing to forfeit her precious homework time (hm....), she would need to be spontaneous (yikes!), she would need to be willing to drive all the way from our town to the town filled with MURDERERS OR WORSE (ummmmm....), and she would have to realize that her kids are only going to be this age for a little bit longer, and that she had a chance to truly bless her children, and this was a one time shot.... OKAY, OKAY! TELL YOUR SISTERS TO BE WAITING OUTSIDE, WE'RE GOING TO EAT A SLICE WITH OLAN!

The cheering could be heard in other galaxies, and I swung my big ol' SUV around the cul-de-sac to see a gang of teenagers grinning ear to ear and jumping up and down waiting to jump on in.  As we merged onto the freeway, the kids explained to me that Olan Rogers had this idea of going on tour across the US, eating pizza with his fans and getting to know them. I was skeptical. How was this even going to work? I feared my kids were a little delusional in thinking they'd actually get to meet the object of their fandom, but we were already in the bumper-to-bumper traffic, so I figured we'd press forward.

We arrived to this vacant building in the middle of Los Angeles and were greeted by seriously friendly people and ushered to a tiny little courtyard filled with pizza and Jones soda and excited Olan fans (Olanmaniacs? Olanites? Olanophiles?).  We were warned that it "could be a while" because "Olan genuinely wants to hang out with each of you guys as long as it takes."  I was still a little skeptical as the line got longer and longer, but the kids were just about BURSTING OUT OF THEIR SKIN IN ANTICIPATION:

When we finally arrived at the front of the line, I was so impressed at how genuine and connect-y Olan was.  He greeted each of the kids and chatted it up with them for several unrushed minutes, signing their posters, making them feel like they were the only fans in the world.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, my son did something totally unexpected: he took off his watch (his FAVORITE STAR WARS WATCH FROM HIS CHILDHOOD) and handed it to Olan Rogers. This was stunning to me because the kid is not prone to outward displays of emotion. He was just so overcome with appreciation for how rad Olan Rogers was, he felt so connected and in awe, he just spontaneously handed over one of his favorite possessions:

It was a crummy little piece of plastic.  It probably has no earthly value at all.  But Olan got it.  He saw it for exactly what it was-

and then finally:

Now, I'm perfectly aware of the fact that Olan Rogers is not God.  He is not Jesus, not worthy of  true worship in any way.  My son is well aware of this too. But I do think that this is a great, tangible illustration of what happens as a natural consequence of getting to know someone, finding out how awesome they actually are, and spending time with them.  You WANT to give them your best- it's just wells up inside you and you can barely help yourself. It's a reaction, a response- not a burden.  And you're never, ever sorry you do it- whether it's ditching homework to drive your kids to meet a wacky YouTube guy (risking running into MURDERERS OR WORSE) or giving up your crummy plastic happy meal watch.  In the scheme of things, holding on to those things would keep us from enjoying the benefits of a deeper, real-er relationship.

And if that's true for me and my kids or my son and Olan, how much more so when it comes to a relationship with the One True God? If we make the effort to get to know Him, if we really realize how truly AWESOME He is, then we'll want to give Him our best- we'll eagerly surrender our time, our talents, our wealth, our attention- things that were once valuable to us, but now seem ridiculous to hold onto. We will give joyfully, cheerfully, and with reckless abandon.

How cool is that?

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 6:8

ps: here's a documentary about the Eat a Slice Tour:

pss: we're all pretty thrilled that he's going to be playing Walt Disney in this upcoming independent film (this is not a solicited endorsement, just thought I'd share): As Dreamers Do


Gretchen said...

Will have to catch up with the documentary, soon. Love this! And yes, I was fighting the eye-leaks throughout.

It's funny how God chooses to show his love sometimes. We have a lifelong friend, who struggles with just about everything, but at one point, during one of his more stable years, he got very close with David. David was in about 4th grade, I think, and these 2 were going back and forth in a Lord of the Rings trivia debate. Well, essentially, the friend was quizzing David, and David couldn't be stumped (nerd-alert). Anyhoo. The friend gave David his LOTR watch. Tears then, too. I don't think David has ever worn the watch - but it's in a special spot of honor in his room.

Brandy said...

Fun post, girl! I had no idea who this Olan person was / is until I just read this, so thanks for making me hip to all the new fangled stuff these kids are into.

andrea frazer said...

That is rad! Never heard of him either. Tho let me go on record as saying that if my handsome, sweet, adorable hubby ever passes and this guy is still single, I'm getting in line. (well, first I'm checking Hugh Jackman, and then the fictional character of Jamie who is kind of long shot) and THEN Olan. Will millions of teen girls want to scratch my eyes out?