A lone man looking for means of expression in a tsunami of information. Seeking
truth justice and the American way in the perspective of a Nixon conservative.
And the Commissioner of the free world's smallest and best fantasy football
That was the first thing I came up with for my blog when I put the first designs together almost 1200 days ago. A mission statement, if you will, of my newly-christened blog, Tilting At Windmills. Between the name and this statement, you can see what it was intended for at the start.
First, it was my voice in the crowd. A place to have my hearing in a world where my government, my family, even my church wasn't neccessarily listening. A permanent electronic record of a man who one day would just be a stone with a date on it who nobody remembered. And unlike my previous "fifteen minutes of fame" moments, someone might actually know who I was afterwards.
Second, it was to be my soapbox. For someone as inhibited socially as I can be, and for someone who'd rather debate in the written word than face to face, it was a perfect place to voice my opinions without stumbling over my tongue or having to feel the hot flushes of self-consciousness. I could say more perfectly what I met, and not have my insecurities keep me from doing so.
Third, it was going to let people know how I felt, and what I named myself. In a world where most people who had similar views as me were being hit with PC nonsense, I could be true to what I believed and the hell with the rest. (In fact, the "PC be hanged" in the banner was at first going to be "PC be damned", but I decided it might take some of the "family show" air out of the tires. My first compromise, just to be polite to the newbies.)
Fourth, it was going to reflect the things I loved- God, history told truly, sports. And beyond that, I really didn't know where it was going to go.
Finally, it was going to be about fighting for honour, even if I was the only one who saw the battle. Even if all the odds were against me. And as such, it was going to be an exercise in boosting my self-esteem. Letting me be a hero, if a humble one, one who recognized that his "glittering armor" and "sharp, two-edged sword" were made of tinfoil and broomsticks.
But there were a lot of things I didn't know it would be about, and many of them are the reasons why anybody reads this thing even now, and are the things that have meant the most to me.
One of those was entertainment. When I look at how stiff some of my earliest posts are, I feel like I was writing them in suit and tie (which I assure you was not the case). Some things I tried to treat too reverently at first; but most of you know I've gotten over that. Even in the most serious of posts- for example, the Sunday Message series- I inject a bit of snark, because God knows I'm a smartass, and deals with me as such. (And believe me, God is way funnier than I am!) But not just the smart stuff. I enjoy how I've grown Time Machine from a dry recitation of what was on the charts in a certain week to an entertainment program that takes a lot of time and work to bring you. It is the one thing I do that I really wouldn't mind making a living at. I challenge myself to tell you about some day's minor disaster at work in a way that will get you laughing far quicker than the actual events get me to.
Learning how to do things on the computer also came with the package. I've had to teach myself posting pictures, formatting tables, using Paint, downloading videos, and other fun things, both to improve the "product" and to get around the occasional roadblocks that using a large, impersonal format like Blogger entails.
The debates have helped me grow as a person as well. Whether it be the once-constant battle with atheists (which I have trimmed by cutting down on allowing myself to be baited), the rather strenuous conversation with Delaney Bramlet's former agent over who wrote Superstar (in which he accused me of deleting a comment because he forgot which post he commented to), or the battles of wits with half armed trolls (such as the dust-up with "John Rambo" AKA Peter Allen Nolan, the he-man woman hater), such conversations have helped in many ways. Not the least of which were knowing which battles are worth fighting, when to abandon civility and just let both barrels fly, and honing my ability, atrophied since my divorce, to win arguments even when the other person doesn't realize they've lost.
But those are the things that came from me. Much more valuable are the things that have came from you. My shell really opened up when I got invited to a few "blog parties" (remember them?) and met new people, many of them who led me to even more. People who didn't neccessarily agree with me. People who had different interests. People from Malaysia, Canada, Australia, the UK, and people from my own home town. People who have shared their convictions, have shared prayers and comforts, people who have given of themselves. The great postcard campaign. Several beer caps. Artwork that proudly hangs just feet away. People who became more than blogs- they became FRIENDS.
The babies who I've watched grow up on their family's blogs. Morgan, Nora, Aubrey. Children growing into young adulthood like Skippy's Wallene, Juli's Oldest, Youngest, and Bonus Brother. Momto8 and Fourth Frog's clans. Mynx's boys and Miss S. My Nephew Andy's kids. Bouncing Barb's grandkids. It really becomes an extended family, in which your heart swells with their accomplishments and falls with their hurts, their break-ups, their illnesses. Like being a parent all over again without the diapers, or a grandparent for the first time without babysitting duties.
The ministry it has allowed me. To take what I learn from God and pass it on. To plant a seed, be an encouragement. Sure, that is God giving to you through me, but if it touches you, effects your heart, turns your mind, that is gold to me as well. You give me that when it causes you to turn to God and say, "Yeah..."
So why do I blog? Funny how it grew from self-glorification into a tree with branches named sharing, caring, learning, laughing, crying, hoping, and dreaming. Those branches bore a fruit I would have never guessed tasted so sweet. And in a way, I suppose, it makes me more than just that name on the cold stone.
And, it gives me a place to put the fantasy football stats where I won't lose them. ;)