Upon his arrival this past weekend, arguably my best friend, Mathew Calhoun started singing his favorite tune, “Ain’t no party like the Cartee party because the Cartee party don’t stop!” Mathew possesses the joy of a thousand sunny days, and his good vibes positively rub off on the people around him. Mathew’s natural disposition to smile and laugh all the time provides a contagious feeling that makes one feel warmth in the current moment.
While Mathew often travels just to spend time with Lisa and myself, his main intention with this trip was to meet Annabelle. My daughter instantly cuddled up against Mathew’s chest as he held her in his arms for the first time. As Annabelle expressed her usual big smiles, instantly she seemed comfy in Mathew’s grasp. Annabelle obviously has an excellent intuition about good people.
The first word that comes to mind when I think of Mathew is consistency. Mathew consistently stays present in our lives. Besides family, thus far, he is the only friend that visited us in Knoxville, Tennessee. Not that our other close friendships are not as equally important, Mathew just shows up, and there is honor in being present at important moments in the lives of friends and family.
We, as a society, live in an unusual time where relationships and community remain pivotal. While health and safety linger as a priority for our given families, I prefer that my daughter, Annabelle, does not live with continual fear in the midst of overexaggerated media claims and inconsistent political leadership. I hope that Annabelle lights a fire in her own path to successful outcomes, achieved dreams, and newfound aspirations. Therefore she must live to leap. She must be inspired to take a chance. She must persevere when the storms come. And Mathew Calhoun will make sure she does just that. That is kind of legend this man lives, large shoes to fill, consistently there when you need him to be.
Uncle Mathew will show Annabelle what true joy looks like. He will show her how love serves. And perhaps most importantly, he will show her how to live courageously in the wake of fear, regardless of what the rest of society chooses to do.
“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
-Joshua 1:6-9 (NIV)
Here are some of the latest photos of Annabelle, including Mathew’s visit.