Years ago, and I do mean YEARS AGO, my friend Dee had a purple room. It was pretty and girly, and was like entering a happy place when I would hang out with her...playing jacks and jumping on the big rocks outside and doing whatever else it was we did on the weekends during my childhood. Her room was purple - if I recall correctly - because it was Donny Osmond's favorite color; a fact we learned from the oracle - Tiger Beat Magazine. We were young and didn't know that some of the people we were following would grow up to be train wrecks (ie Leif Garrett, Danny Bonaduce). But bless Donny's heart, he stayed somewhat normal. I wonder if purple is still his favorite color?
I didn't then, and certainly wouldn't now be a member of any official "fan club," but I am definitely a member of quite a number of unofficial ones. I'm a fan of kids who make good decisions and are poised to do amazing things with their lives. I'm a fan of quite a few authors including Max Lucado, Nicholas Sparks, John Steinbeck, and Jen Lancaster - as diverse as that particular group is. I'm a fan of anything my brother-in-law cooks on the grill, my sister-in-law's pastry creations, and pretty much anything that our family cooks at Thanksgiving (except those frozen mincemeat pies...ick). I'm also a fan of SEC football, and numerous other organizations with which I have been associated with over the years that I won't name here because I'll undoubtedly leave something out.
I'm also a fan of a number of people that I am proud to call friends. People that I either knew when I was young and have only grown to respect and appreciate more as I've gotten older. Or people with which I've worked, attended church, or raised children for the past several years. People who have laughed and cried and stressed with me through all of my seasons of life. Who call or e-mail me on my birthday and who ask about my family. Those who care enough about me to try to find out where I am if I go MIA from time to time like I tend to do.
I'm a fan of people who think, make the most of what they have, and who don't expect everything to be perfect. Of those who see that life is not just one big cake...and if someone's slice is bigger than theirs it isn't a reason for jealousy. No, they know that life is just one big bakery, and if someone has a bigger slice than they do...that they can go get another slice from another cake at some other time. I don't know why I am talking about cake when I can't have it, but I suppose that it is because I'm a huge fan of cake as well. Literally.
All of us have our preferences and our likes and dislikes, and rarely are they ever the same. I know this because my musical tastes appear to be an aberration of sorts. I only know a few people who like the same music I do that are my age. But it's okay. I don't like cantatas, bluegrass, or jazz, so I get it. So I won't attend concerts with my friends? I've survived this long...I think I'll be okay. I'm still a fan of the music.
What gets us through life sometimes - especially in the difficult moments - is having that fan club that supports us when the going gets tough. A group that tells us not necessarily what we want to hear...but what we need to hear. A group that reminds us of everything that is going right in our lives when everything appears to be going wrong.
I worry about young people sometimes because they don't appear to have these. There is still too much immaturity, or competition, or self-centeredness to really be there for someone else. They'll listen, and try to make things better, but their ability to support is pretty limited. They mean well, but they don't have enough life experience to really give good counsel.
They see a friend who has something that they want, and they can't bear to be around the friend because it reminds of them of what they don't have...instead of seeing that if this person has it...there's hope for everyone. They want their lives mapped out but want to do it themselves...regardless of the fact that they possess no navigational skills whatsoever. They have no respect for the concept of waiting for anything...because they can only see today and possibly tomorrow. Anything beyond that may as well be twenty years down the road.
Don't get me wrong...I'm a fan of young people. A big fan. I've edited papers, sat in the bleachers, written notes, and prayed for my share of them through the years. I just know that they need to be more supportive of each other...and less envious. More understanding that everyone succeeds on a different timetable...and less angst-ridden if they are a beat behind. More aware of the world of opportunities that exist to them...and less afraid that someone's "more" means their "less".
Fan clubs...we all need them. When we are going through the difficult patches of life, or even the joyous ones. When we are taking a step of faith, or when we are quietly waiting for a season. Or when we are wishing we could peek at the future because we aren't so fond of our present. Our fan clubs remind us of the possibilities, of our unique contribution to life, and that they have faith that can help us move the mountains of our own unbelief in our abilities and gifts.
So, jump out there today and be a fan. Be rowdy. Cheer the significant someones in your life to new heights. Be an encourager. Take everything you have and use it to the greatest advantage...even if that means that someone else will benefit...and nobody will ever know of your part in it. And if you see a young person who does anything that is a step in the right direction...make sure that they know that you are sitting in the stands...cheering wildly. After all, you may look up someday and see them sitting in the stands cheering for you.