Wade Owlett snapped the photo that went on the cover of a previous collaboration, Our Savior Come–but we’d been friends for some time before that on account of his connection to a really fine church and wider community I’ve been associated with for a couple of decades. Wade’s an elementary school teacher with a wanderer’s heart; he also moves through life with the soul of a poet. When I was talking up the LTM project, I asked Wade about another cover. Cover? he shot back. I want to write for the book. I’m really glad he did.
Wade’s responses to my questions offer further insight into what batters around in his heart and head…
If you met yourself ten years ago, where would you be?
Ten years ago, I was in my senior year of college and frozen with fear of the future.
Having returned from Australia only a year prior and, in that, confronting many insecurities and illusions I had built growing up (see my essay in Letters to Me), I had gained drive and, at the same time, lost direction. It took some serious soul-searching to find my place in an America that had recently been bruised by terrorism and fear. I was afraid, but at the same time, in my heart, God cultivated a longing for simplicity and wisdom. I was also given many opportunities to see our beautiful, heartbroken country and this I can tell you with conviction: we are a determined people, full of love and grace.
What comment from a mentor has stuck with you?
Bud Amundsen is one of my most favorite people in the world. He is the regional director for Youth for Christ in Medford, Oregon. I met him while on a whimsical road trip across the country by a friend’s mom’s father’s friend (no joke!) and we bonded instantly.
Working with youth, Bud sees so many men flounder in extended adolescence, making excuses and wasting their lives in front of an Xbox. In conversation once, Bud said, “If I could offer you one piece of advice, it would be to grow up and be a man. Take responsibility and make choices.
Are you going to make the wrong one once in a while? Sure. But do something. You won’t regret it.”
Wise man, that Bud Amundsen.
What about a memorable book you read, place you visited, or person you met before you turned 25?
Book: Into the Wild changed everything I thought I knew about life. It made me want to live in a bus in the wilderness, but without the poisonous mushrooms.
Place: There is a pier in the port of Victoria, British Columbia where my good friend Mason and I talked about the importance of living in the moment and not letting worry for the future control how we relate to people and God and life. I think about that pier often and wish I could close my eyes and be there, feeling the reassurance a friend can bring.
Person: Todd Morehart showed me how to live a story full of life and love. And he still shows me this.