Darkness fell, I watched the future Gollum put a worm on a hook, and several hours later I had just undergone such an enjoyable cinematic experience that I was one big teary mess! Return of the King is still my favorite movie, but that showing was also significant for another reason. I met Adam Swenson there. Unbeknownst to me then, we would go on to be part of a small group for four years, both become Calvin grads, and enjoy a great friendship spanning more than a decade now. Knownst to me know, the future Adam would prove to be the antithesis of the false pretender Gollum that we both saw that day.
And of the multiple things I have appreciated Adam for, it is that honesty and openness about himself that stands out. The nature of our friendship made deeper discussions about personal struggles and victories more common than in most, but Adam never really seemed to engage in these simply because he felt like he had to. Rather, he displayed a genuine desire to use his honesty—and the vulnerability that accompanies it—to make himself a better person. Maybe it was because he knew anyone could be open with a grown man who cried at a fantasy movie, I don’t know, but become a better person he did, a very admirable individual I am proud to call my friend and brother in Christ!
Given that our society champions both the pretense of perfection and the indifference of imperfection, I am always impressed with and excited for a person who can confront his own faults openly enough to allow himself and others make him stronger. That I have seen Adam do that so many times makes him a strong model of maturity indeed, and I know for a fact that I am only one of several to both notice his example and become better people ourselves as a result. Thanks Adam…and Susan! Don’t worry Meredith, Adam will openly and honestly explain that last little joke there.
Who has exemplified vulnerability and honesty to you, encouraging you to open yourself up to becoming better? They are rare and important people, so heal their hereafter with some gratitude today!
One small way I can honor those who I respect is to advance an organization or cause they value. Adam chose to showcase Mott Children Hospital in Ann Arbor for the great job they do taking care of many children sick with difficult diseases. Having briefly worked there myself, I can appreciate with him the efforts there both to teach and to treat. Learn more here!