Monday, April 4, 2011
I was reading recently something that that was written by someone around my kids age, on how they wanted to focus in on something and become a master of their craft. A noble aspiration, I mean, most of the really cool stuff we have come to us from people who had the need to strive for perfection.
It's something that I have thought about a lot over the course of my life. The thing is, is that I don't really excel at anything. I do however come from a family that does. Both my parents are accomplished musicians, with albums, cd's and awards. My Brother is a great guy, who also happens to be a 5th degree black belt. He teaches the students in his Martial Arts school so much more that just karate, PLUS he has an awesome band, that I'm sure soon will have their own awards on the mantle to show off. My sister is not musical, but she is gifted in working with her hands.. You could sheer a sheep, dump it on her porch and within a few hours she could have a 3 dimensional felt farm for your kids to play with complete with buildings, animals, people and crops.
Then there is me... Not really musical, I can't fix anything.. heck I don't even own tools.. I love to laugh, if I can make you laugh too, I consider my day well spent and some refer to me as a nice guy.
It used to bother me sometimes.. It felt like I was living in everyones shadow.. and then one day I thought of the people in the world that influenced me... Some of the people that made me the person that I am today.. Of course family has had a strong positive influence, and on another day I will write about that.. But today I'm writing about others, who's kindness has stayed with me through my whole life.
I know that I have mentioned Alex Harding before, but when I was a kid, he and his wife kind of adopted our little family, and Alex would take me to things like father son dinners, talk to me if I seemed troubled... and basically be a good friend. My fondest memory of him was one Christmas, when I was around 11 years old. He took me out to buy a Christmas tree. I had $10.00, which at the time was a good chunk of cash for a tree. I looked for trees and fell in love with this Scotch Pine.. It was stunning with it's long needles. Then I noticed the price... 15 bucks, so downplaying it, I went in search of a tree that I could afford, and found a really nice one. Mr. Harding told me that he liked it, but he thought the other one would look better in my living room. He said that he was pretty sure that I had enough money for it, so we grabbed it and went to the counter. I dropped my 10 down, and he placed a 5 on top of it.. A simple thing and yet here I am years later, tearing up just remembering.
When I was 16, a man named Jerry Buffington taught me to drive his stick shift truck... I promptly drove it over a stump in the field. Jerry never skipped a beat, he never got angry, in fact he told me a funny story about when he learned to drive stick. We spent hours, digging, chopping and chain sawing that stump to get his truck out. His wife was waiting for him at home, but to Jerry it seemed to be exactly how he planned on spending the afternoon.
The truth is, that I could go on, writing pages of amazing people that influenced me over the course of my life... and without fail, these people were not masters of anything, they weren't great artist, or scholars.. They were just average Joes, working stiffs, but their choices made my world a better place to be.
I am grateful for those few who excel in the world, who's desire to master their chosen field makes our world what it is today. Truth be told though, when I write in my Gratitude journal, or whisper a thank you prayer... Those aren't the people that I think about, I think about the highschool teacher, who always made me feel like I was smart, or the nurse in the hospital once who kept coming in on her breaks, because I was afraid to sleep, and my friends and family today who laugh at my jokes, put up with my singing and smile when they see me. They make an average Joe, feel uniquely special, and to them I say, Thank you for your kindness and examples.
You are the ones that I strive to emulate.