“Thank God every day for the situation I’m in.”
“Say ‘I love you’ multiple times a day.”
“Be nice to everyone, never know when a random person might become your best friend.”
Nolan wrote these rules of thumb a little over a year and a half ago while at Bridgton Academy
He had struggled to handle high school, attending Gilman 9th grade and into October of 10th, then spending a year at Boys Latin and graduating from Baltimore Lutheran after 2 rough years of depression and anxiety.
Bridgton was a challenge as it was strict and there were not a lot of things to do nearby and it was all boys! Although it proved to be one of the best things he had done (he later admitted), it was not without times of him wanting to come home. On the 8 hr drive home after graduation the realization hit him that he no longer had all those buds to hang with, or the lacrosse, or the inspiring teachers who encouraged dialogue and interaction, or the lobster dinners at Bob’s for $20. This was the 1st time we ever saw him sob. In retrospect, it was great that he cared so much about something after having the depression rob him of his usual joys for so long.
Summer was another growth time as a relationship struggle and uncertainty about college hit him square in the face. Having learned to drive a stick shift came in handy as he landed a job as a valet at Michael’s Café. This was a place that allowed him to share his smiles, hugs, and love to the many friends’ parents, family, and neighbors that frequent there. Although there had been dark years where we didn’t see this sunny side of Nolan, many school mates shared at the viewing how Nolan had encouraged them in their difficult classes, gave them hugs in the halls and generally found ways to make others smile all while he was down inside.
In one of Nolan’s essays he shared, “I believe there is a spiritual battle going on around us at all times that we cannot view. I wholeheartedly believe that evil is the cause of my down and outness, but light overcomes the darkness because I choose not to wallow in my sorrow. I have issues, yes. I do not let them own me.” He went on to say how music was something that helped him.
Nolan became very in tune with his body but often, when he claimed to “not feel well” (mentally) we were hard pressed to understand and sometimes even believe it. During a rough night valeting, the truth of his issue was made clear and he knew he needed to find a different type of work. With the fall came CCBC classes and old and new friends there. And, somewhere in the journey, a passion for golf was revealed. Not only did he love to hit balls at the driving range and golf at Fox Hollow, Pine Ridge, and BCC but he found a perfect job cleaning clubs and golf carts and setting up all the members scheduled to play at BCC. In this he found motivation to work hard, to get up early, to plan ahead, and to be enterprising. It was so good to see him have joy and purpose!
As he pushed through traditional style classes at CCBC and started to get annoyed with having parents wanting to know his whereabouts, his hunger for a college experience intensified. He would have regular chats with the coach at Berry College and he had made a list of the teammates in his upcoming class with their numbers and position. Next to his roommate’s name he had written: “Dynamic Duo”.
Not sure why God had this timing before college started to take him, but there is some peace in him leaving at the top of his game.
One last insert from Nolan’s hand penciled thoughts:
Just follow – who cares what anyone else says; live your life for the Lord|
Execute – show your faith, don’t hide your beliefs
Set goals – try to beat one sin habit and pick up a good habit
Unity – groups can defeat haters, stand up for yourself and your beliefs
Security – in all times know who is in your corner.