I used to think that I was a writer. I am, but I’ve come to see that my calling in life is bigger than that. My friend David told me this one day at Firehouse Subs: “You’re a vocational storyteller with a passion for personal transformation.”

Sometimes other people find the words that we need. That’s what I want to do for you. Part of my vocation is telling other people’s stories back to them, giving them hope, and showing them that change is possible.

The best stories always contain a shred or echo of truth, and may sometimes reflect poorly on the storyteller. We’ve all experienced embarrassment and humiliation and been the ones to delve it out. At times, I’ve been an epic jerk. This one girl in middle school got up forty-five minutes earlier each day to straighten her hair because she was afraid I’d make fun of her if she wore it curly. If a sensei were giving out black belts for cruel sarcasm, I would have earned the tenth degree.

My story has both ugly and beautiful parts. I’ve stood up to bullies and road ragers. I once stopped a homeless man from choking a woman. I’ve cried with friends and spoken hard words of truth. I’ve traveled to twenty countries. I married a lovely woman and try to love her with quietness and tenderness so that she blossoms the rest of her life.

I try to be a doorway of hope and beauty in a world of suffering, but I often fail.

My biggest dream is to become a saint, and if what Thomas Merton wrote is true, that “Becoming a saint is becoming yourself,” then the owning up to my mistakes and sharing funny stories are milestones on the road to authenticity.

The three letters in gu.e represent what’s left out of the official records of sainthood. In sharing my stories, thoughts, and laughs, I hope to become more authentic and give other people permission to do the same, freedom to become more themselves.

Gu.ebers are people actively involved in rethinking the good life and pursuing authenticity. Here’s my definition:

[goo-ber] n. a person who brings beauty into the world by leading a life of honesty, empathy, and generosity; a person who desires to become less cynical and more hopeful; a person who wants to leave a legacy.

I want to inspire you to embrace your wonderful and embarrassing flaws, foibles, and inconsistencies; to flaunt your birthmarks, moles, and jowls; to come to terms with your personality quirks, emotional baggage, and idiosyncrasies.

You have to love yourself before you can love your neighbor as yourself. Changing the “world” really just means loving one neighbor at a time. The world needs people be more intentional about walking the long, and often difficult, road to authenticity. Whether you take pictures or clean toilets, I want to help you tell your story and bring beauty into this world. I invite you to join me on my quest to become who I was created to be: an ambassador of hope.

The past doesn’t determine the future. We have hope. We can change. We can become gu.ebers.