Who is Nick Rice? // Plymouth, Indiana

Do you think it’s interesting how we define the people in our lives? Usually it’s by the roles they play, who they are to us physically. “oh, they’re my brother, she’s my best friend, he’s my boss, etc.” I think it’s natural to do this, but I wonder too, who they are on their own. I often find myself looking at a person and wondering what they’re really like, just for curiosity’s sake. The people that are most important to me though, they’re the ones that I want to understand. I want to know who they truly are, how they came to be that way, where they’re going. So, on that note, I want to tell you about one of my best friends.

Ever since I met Nick, he has challenged me. He pushes me to question myself; to wonder about who I am and who I want to be. He makes me evaluate what’s important to me and what things I can leave behind. When I’m with him, I experience the world differently. His joy and excitement is contagious. I’m not sure that I’ve ever told him this, but if it hadn’t have been for him, I’m not sure that I would still be photographing anything at all. When we became friends, I was struggling with some heavy things in my life. I had misplaced the joy that I once had in photographing the world around me. I was literally on the edge of putting it away. Then Nick came along with his excitement and love of Canon technology, for seeing all the world has to offer and he helped to relight that fire for me. In him, I found someone who shared my heart for discovery and enhanced my sense of adventure; someone who loves seeing new things. I never knew how important it was to me to have someone in my life who shared my love of photography and capturing how we view the world. It’s funny how sometimes you don’t know what you need until it’s right there in front of you and you remember the absence of it. His presence in my life is something that I’ll forever be grateful for.

A few weeks ago, we road-tripped to his hometown of Plymouth, Indiana. You can really learn a lot about someone by spending 12+ hours together in the car. Good news: We didn’t kill each other. I had spent a lot of time thinking about our visit, prior to actually going, because Nick has always intrigued me. Like I said, he is one of my best friends. I knew who he was to me, but here we were heading to the town where he grew up. I was going to meet the people who helped to make him who he is. That question kept popping up in my mind: “Who is Nick Rice?” Outside of son, brother, friend, uncle, who is he to the people who mean the most to him? And if you know me at all, you can probably guess what happened next. I simply asked them to tell me. It was important for me to do this for a number of reasons, but the main one was so that he could take in the love that others have for him.

2019 2019 (1) 2019 (2)Angie, (Nick’s mom): “He is so interesting and special and exasperating at the same time. Of all of my kids, Nick has made me laugh the hardest and cry the hardest. He is the person who has stretched me the most. Sometimes in good ways, sometimes in bad. He has taught me to let go and trust God. In some ways, it feels like I’m living out the prodigal son. You want to be able to be there for your kids, to make sure that they don’t have to be hurt, but that’s not the way life is. Through loving and living with Nick, I’ve learned that you have to let them walk this life. You can be there, you can pray for them and listen, but sometimes you have to just let them live through what’s in front of them. I admire his creativity, his “screw you, world. I am who I am”, mentality. The way he sees the world is just so different. Nick has always made me think; about who I am, about what’s important in this world and what’s not. I love him more than he knows, I’m sure. I’ve loved him from the beginning, from the moment I knew I was carrying him and it’s a love that’s not going to end.”2019 (3)2019 (16)2019 (5)Dan, (Nick’s dad): “Nick is the person who makes me laugh. You know, I’m coming from a perspective of watching him grow from a young kid to now and he’s been a bit of a roller coaster. He’s made me laugh hysterically and he’s made me so mad at times. He’s very different from the girls. He’s always been a fly by night. Now, I just see him as a grown up, finding his way. Nick is very intelligent, very talented. I think he’s got talents that he hasn’t even tapped into yet. When he gets an idea on something, he’s Gung-Ho. He just sets out and gets stuff done. I’m not adventurous like him and I envy that. I always try to listen to Nick. I really respect what he has to say. He’s so kindhearted. Not just to friends or family, but to strangers too. Recently, he gave his guitar to a young guy who needed one. I thought that was pretty cool. The childhood is gone now. He is just a fine young man.

2019 (7) 2019 (8) 2019 (9)Chelsea, (Sister): “I joke that my middle child is a lot like Nick. She’s got these eyes that are always looking, always scheming and dreaming. That’s Nick. He’s constantly looking, thinking about things. He has always cast a big shadow and sometimes it was hard growing up in that. He’s the older brother who has a way of bringing me back down to earth. He just speaks the truth. Even if what he has to say breaks my heart and I don’t want to hear it, he’s usually right. He wants me to feel good about myself, but he also wants me to succeed. I don’t always cut him the slack that he needs, but I just admire him as a man. Even with everything that he’s been through, he just gets back up. I know that he’s human and it can be hard to see your worth as a person, because the world has a way of numbing you, blinding you to it. I see him though, as righteous; as a strong person. I couldn’t tell you the times that I wish I was that way in my faith. He boldly speaks truth. When he was taking our family photo’s, I was so self-conscious about the way I looked. We did a shot where Devon and I were lying on the ground and he was standing over us and I said something about having a double chin. Nick stopped and said, “Chelsea, yes. You have a double chin and it’s beautiful. Get over it.” We couldn’t help but laugh, but the truth is because my brother said that to me, I could believe him and I was able to let my insecurity in that moment go. What he says, matters. He has made me laugh my whole life. I’m so proud of him and I still feel like the luckiest little sister, to be known as Nick’s sister. I want him to know that he’s changed my life.”

2019 (10) 2019 (11) 2019 (12)Lindsay, (Sister): “There are so many things that I admire about Nick: His sense of adventure. The way he simply picks up and follows his heart. His fearlessness. Love of children, especially those with special needs and his compassion for them. His creative spirit and talents. It seems no matter what he does it turns out beautiful! His love of animals. Nick is a friend; someone who makes me laugh. Someone who prays for me when I need it and texts when I least expect it with a message of encouragement. He may not know he does this but he does. Someone I’ve grown up with and have millions of happy memories with.”

2019 (13) 2019 (14)Lucy, (4 yrs old niece): “Oh Nick. He’s something else. Uncle Nick is very sweet in my heart. I don’t like his beard though.

I walked away from this trip not only with a genuine love for family that I met, but with a better understanding of this man who is now, so much more than just a friend to me. Nick is one of the most unique people that I have ever and probably will ever meet in this life. He is both charming and infuriating; hilarious in the most unexpected ways and at the most unexpected times. He’s good at literally everything that he does. He’s larger than life without intending to be. He thinks deeply and observes closely. He has the ability to read a person or a situation and immediately have a better understanding of what’s going on below the surface. He has an incredibly kind heart and a genuine love for people who are hurting or in need. He notices and cares for the people most of us choose to ignore. Everywhere we go, he engages those around him. People are just naturally drawn to him. He is charismatic, wise, fearless in ways that I will never be. He is simple and complicated; Someone that I greatly admire and deeply respect.

He is Nick Rice.