About Nate Pratt

31 year old media lover. I've been in fistfights and have had at least one brush with death. I once got hit in the mouth with a lead pipe and it hurt pretty bad. Don't do drugs.

5 Years On, It’s the Small Things that Mattered Most

Today at 12:48 PM, my brother will have been dead for 5 years.

This particular day doesn’t feel any more special or worthy of note than any others, but here I am, making note of it. Probably more out of habit than anything else.

Five years on and I’ve realized it’s the small things that have left the largest impact on me since Phil’s passing. How people around me reacted at a low point has taught me a great deal about loving others.

Patti, the receptionist at work who heard me lose it on the phone when I got the news, who came over to me and rubbed my back with one hand back and forth slowly, gently as I cried at my desk. She cried with me as I packed my things to go be with my family.

Jeff, a good friend that was walking into the hospital as I pulled up to it, who simply sat with me in silence and waited patiently for me to say it was okay that he go home to his family.

Brandon, a dear friend that drove 4 hours to be there at the funeral and embraced me like a brother.

An uncle that, to this day, sends me “head check” texts on the anniversary of Phil’s death as well as on Phil’s birthday.

Seemingly endless amounts of people that showed up to the visitation and offered kind words and cooked meals for our family.

Almost daily messages in the weeks and months that followed of people talking about Phil and sharing funny stories.

Others reached out and offered sage advice on dealing with loss. One such friend even shared how he was able to grieve after he lost an infant to SIDS.

Loss, it seems, has the ability to expand love in this world as well as end it. I count myself blessed for having received an overflowing amount of it.

I share all of this now as a poor way of saying thanks to those that have lifted me up in low moments.

Having been shown such kindness and grace from family and friends, it further cements in my mind that it’s the small things that matter most in life.

A gentle hand. A warm smile. A strong embrace. Kind words. Being present.

These things matter.

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Agnosticism > Atheism (and Theism)

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With as much as I generally don’t like to run, you’d think I was running some crazy ass marathon for the amount my intellectual landscape has shifted over the last 5 years.

From lifelong believer to outspoken atheist full of venom to an atheist that’s just live and let live to now just a plain old boring lacks the balls to take a firm stance agnostic.

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A Death, A Loss of Faith, A Baby, A Divorce and A Wedding

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The Pratt boys from today’s wedding – Me, Dad, Masen and Jay

Today my father got married to a very nice woman named Gayle. Gayle’s a very sweet lady that adores my father and he, in turn, loves her dearly. By all accounts and from every way I look at it, they’re going to be very happy together and will serve each other well. I couldn’t be more thrilled.

But as I stood on stage with my dad, my older brother, Jason, and one of my father’s dearest friends, Mark, I was hit with a very sudden and unexpected crushing sadness. I was thrilled for my father and Gayle, but it hit me up there on stage, listening to my dad swear vows to a woman that isn’t my mom, that this was the climax and finale of the death of my brother.

If my brother dying suddenly on May 16th 2012 was the start of a new book in my life, today, with my dad marrying Gayle, was the end of that book. A final punctuation mark on a rather tumultuous 4 years summed up perfectly with, “You may now kiss the bride.”

After Phil died my immediate family, a once shockingly close knit group, was thrown headlong into uncharted territory which resulted in my mom hating my father, me losing religion and having a baby girl, begging my father to divorce my mother and finally with my dad marrying Gayle. (Certain drama left out because well….I don’t want to share it.)

The only constant in all of this is that my brother hasn’t been here for any of it. While I should’ve seen it coming, it was today, over 4 years after Phil’s death and a good 3 and a half years of being totally numb to almost all emotional pain that I was brought to tears and forced to again face the realities that Phil has missed everything and will always miss everything.

Would my parents have divorced if he hadn’t died? Would I still be a happy member of the Christian village? If my parents divorced, would my dad have met and fallen in love with Gayle?

Phil is both the missing component in all of these events as well as the very likely reason any of these things are happening.

So, it was with both great joy and sadness that I hugged my father and Gayle and wished them the best of luck in their new life together.

I just wish Phil was there to give dad a hard time and to take pictures with us again.

This is all probably his fault anyways.

The only picture of all the Pratt boys in existence – Me, Jay, Masen, Phil and Dad

 

Why Immortality is so Boring

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There was a time when I couldn’t imagine my life, or afterlife, without the reality of living forever in some form. In one way or another, in some form or another, Nate Pratt was going to live forever.

What a terrifying thought.

Why does the thought of eternity, something that brings comfort to billions, bring me such fear? In a word: Time.

Time, friends, is what gives life meaning. Time is what allows us an appreciation of relationships and goals. Time is what permits us to evaluate what is most important in our lives by deciding where we put our most precious and limited resource.

Time is the most valuable commodity any of us have and whether you like it or not, where you decide to put your time says a great deal about what’s important to you. You will not be able to buy more time. Nobody is selling sand to refill our figurative hourglasses.

If all people had access to some form of immortality or infinite time, time would become meaningless as well as our goals and relationships. When you have an eternity to do anything or be with people, where does the significance  of that goal or relationship go?

By me choosing to spend time with you freely, I’m carving out space in my limited life to build something valuable between us. I’m telling you, in an indirect way, that you’re valuable.

When I write on my blog or take time to tell a joke, it’s because these things are important to me. I’m attempting to pass along some kernel of thought to make you look at something in a way you hadn’t before or I’m trying to illicit a laugh to make you feel well and myself, selfishly, validated.

The pains of death are the ultimate proof of what I’m saying. For those of us that have felt the utter depths of agony in the sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one, we’re only able to feel these pains because we know what it means to love and cherish someone.

We feel that terrible because we know what it means to feel the opposite of that in love. The pain is a testament to how much and how capable we love or fellow man. What an amazing gift.

Death, as much as it hurts, is proof of the value of time. If death were written off, there’d be no more appreciation for life and with that, much of what we cherish and find beautiful would leave as well.

Or to put it as beautifully and succinctly as I once heard in a movie:

“The sweet just isn’t as sweet without the sour.”

How true of life and death.

Time gives us the highs and lows, victories and defeats that immortality couldn’t dare bless us with.

Let me be clear, I’m not looking forward to death or am pretending to enjoy the idea that one day my consciousness will end, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t treasure the many benefits and appreciations limited time grants.

So the next time we hang out, I’d really appreciate a hug or a thanks for granting you some of my precious limited time. I promise I’ll return the favor because let’s face it, immortality would be such a bore.

Can An Atheist Do Church?

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For a good while now, I’ve immensely enjoyed having 2 day weekends. I work Monday through Friday and, generally, don’t work weekends unless my shop is busy during outage season, but even then, it’s not a common occurrence.

When I was a regular church attendee and worked this same schedule, I had a 2 day weekend, but largely felt cheated out of the 2nd day. Why? Well, you’ve got stuff to do! You’ve got to wake up and make yourself look presentable and get your ass to church!

From wake up to walk back in the door of your house, you’re looking at a minimum of a solid couple of hours removed from your “free” day. Since I did this 5 times a week already, a 6th time is a drag, especially when there’s so much other stuff I could be doing, but leaving the church has allowed me to fully enjoy the 2 day weekend! Continue reading

It’s Not You, It’s Me

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I get it.

I dug too hard. I posted too much. I was too inflammatory. I was offensive.

What I’m alluding to is that I’ve lost some friends coming out of the atheist closet. Luckily, the people that have mattered the most in my life are all still here and accounted for, but I’ve lost lots of friends. Not just ones I’ve not kept in touch with well and acquaintances I’ve always wished I’d been able to get to know more, but a handful of people that have meant a good deal to me over the years. Continue reading

The Best Damn Songs You’ve Never Heard – Volume #1

Music has long been a passion of mine. Few other mediums can transport me like music can.

I’ve been told by a handful of people that I have one of the most diverse palettes for sound and music of anyone they’ve ever known.

With that super lame qualification out of the way, I gift you….

THE BEST DAMN SONGS YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF – Volume #1 Continue reading