I don’t know what else to say. Russ Hemati managed to shatter my sense of how the world functions. Russ was one of those rare people you ever get to meet in your lifetime if ever who could literally write his own ticket if he only chose to do so. He will never admit to this, of course, because he has found it logically necessary to assume the figure of humility, although I don’t consider it pride to admit to the truth.

He is that intelligent. I think it should be known. I think he could be an asset to more people than he realizes if he were to only expand his willingness to accept public exposure. Well, there are worthwhile debates over this. We can impart a deeper sense of humanity, spirituality, philosophy, and stability to a few people via actual relationship. Writing books, blogs, or journals will never have the power of impact that a relationship can have.

Why else did Jesus walk the earth with his disciples? Why didn’t he just heal people, preach, and write a book called, The Gospel of Jesus? Why did he entrust the retelling of this amazing story to a handful of mostly uneducated fishermen, waiters, and tax collectors? I think there was something more in the impartation of his life. Authors like John Eldredge, Donald Miller, and Stu Weber agree that something is imparted to a young man when he experiences the physical presence of a mature, masculine adult.

Call it what you will, but I have to agree that physical discipleship is more effective than teaching via booklet or blog. Still, there is something to be said for reaching more people quickly. Perhaps we each have our own callings, even those of us with similar giftings. Perhaps some of us are called to share who we are with a small group, and others of us are called to share who we are with the masses. Strategically, it makes sense to do both. You want the deep conversion that comes with close proximity, but you don’t want to wait for generations to pass before enough people are changed that everyone out there has a chance to know a part of what you have to share.

So some of us focus on the few, some on the many. I’d say that I probably focus on the many right now, while Russ focuses on the few. He is obviously equipped to share with the many, though writing may not be his favorite method of expression. But I had certain expectations of him during college. Sure, he’ll be a PhD soon enough and I’ll have to call him Dr. Hemati, but I saw him as one of those guys who could become nationally renowned if only he would become a bachelor for life, devoted to his craft.

Okay, so I’m not disappointed in the least that he married. He and Christi make a wonderful couple. I knew that years ago. Still, you don’t meet someone like him very often. Russ and Christi now have a baby girl, Claire, and Russ is forever branded with a father’s love. That love will motivate and rejuvenate him throughout the years to come, but it will also pose some limitations. This is what we call Life.

We each face these decisions in our lives. Decisions which literally alter the path of our future. Russ is not likely to ever regret the decision he has made, both as husband and as father. He is very pleased with the outcome of his circumstances. And he should be.

But people like me can both appreciate the good and the beautiful while simultaneously viewing the imaginary “what ifs” that haunt us, wondering what greatness he or she missed out on. It is not mental illness. If anything, it is merely ambidextrous instrospection.

Russ will never become a Nietzsche or Einstein or von Balthazaar. I shouldn’t say never. But the odds are no longer in his favor. Who has the time to postulate new theorems or invent new inventions while giving the baby her bottle and changing her diaper? I haven’t seen or heard of it happen yet. A man can be brilliant and a good father at the same time. But brilliance is capacity and father is activity. All I’m saying is that I don’t see how a man can truly reach his potential as a father while dedicating enough of his time to something else to produce genius.

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