(Dicos at Fenway)
“When you make people angry, they act in accordance with their baser instincts, often violently and irrationally. When you inspire people, they act in accordance with their higher instincts, sensibly and rationally. Also, anger is transient, whereas inspiration has a life-long effect.” – Peace Pilgrim
I met the mother of my friend Jessie at the gym and frankly it was a privilege. I thanked her for the son she raised and not because of the impressive young man I’ve known since I met him – that was the easy part since first impressions only last so long without something to fortify those impressions, you know? But here’s what made meeting her such a privilege: knowing some of the difficulties he had to overcome (with some of his own creation which he acknowledges) and knowing that without her influence, guidance, assistance, and support, he would have not gotten past them to become the man he is today. In talking with Jessie about those obstacles I’ve formed the impression that he has the mindset that every stutter or knee-buckling step in the past hasn’t stopped him from walking or sprinting towards the future with a much better direction in mind.
In speaking with Jessie’s Mom she was kind to mention that I served as some sort of inspiration to him but I told her that it had more to do with him than me for the following reasons and perception.
I’ve noticed one thing that separates so many when it comes to levels of inspiration. A majority (I’m guessing) likes the feeling of being inspired by meaningful words and stories that temporarily makes them feel in such a way but that’s where the lessons end. NTo them, such stories are entertaining and moving for the moment but general replaced by the next source of entertainment with little thought thereafter about the possible lasting influence they could have had as they reseed back into the waters that too often leave them adrift.
The rest of the population are not only open to being inspired but they also believe that they can be inspired, take whatever useful information they can take from that inspiration, and actually use it to drive them from where they don’t want to be, and towards where they want and strive to be with the a renewed faith that they are capable of getting there! I mean if something can truly “move” us emotionally and spiritually so much that it filters into to the core of our structure, why not use it to “move” in the best direction for ourselves?
I often think of the more tragic plots and sub-plots behind the stories that drive us to tears and it reminded me of something I wrote 25-30 years ago. It essentially stated that the suffering of “mankind” can bring out the best in “humanity” if it can give us motivation towards the purpose of further appreciation for what we have, and to assist those who have significantly less! This is where we need people like Deb and Marlena who live their dreams by fulfilling the dreams of others.
I need no greater example of inspiration than “Lauren Hill” (not the singer) who was featured on ESPN and I hope you guys remember her story and if not, I’ll show you the clip about her again or you can look her up on Google to remind you. That young 19 year-old is still here after living past her doctors’ prediction that she would die before 2015 and has raised well over $2M for cancer research since last November after her story became public. Since that time, she has served as my hero and inspiration so that I never wallow in my own perceived hardships which seem so trivial by comparison, and to drive myself to be as kind as possible to me and others regardless of how I’m treated or what I receive in return. I mean how can I allow myself to “suffer” over the insignificant when I’ve been a witness to “true suffering and pain” through stories like Lauren and the misfortune of experiencing the same on a more deeply personal level? That would make me feel like a coward and a poor reflection on the legacy my parents left behind before they left me!
I mentioned in something I wrote to Deb and J last week about the fact that I don’t really fear death for reasons too complex to detail here but I it’s ironic that I’m totally unprepared when Ms. Hill’s departs this planet, especially after reading her mother’s most recent post about Lauren’s condition. Although I never met this “random angel”, she has had a greater impact on me over the last six months than most people that immediately come to mind. J and C, keep repeating “Lauren Hill, Lauren Hill…” to yourselves on those times you think things are so rough, or struggling with obvious decisions for yourself because more distracting choices present themselves. While you’re wasting that time, I’m sure Lauren and many others like her would love that time and the opportunities that are being wasted!
So here’s the point and I apologize for the lengthy soliloquy but these ramblings needed some context for these concluding thoughts. I told Jessie afterwards that it was sweet that his Mom found me somewhat inspirational from what I’ve shared with him. Still, I don’t necessarily right to “inspire” but I am very gratified if that’s the end result.
I first started writing to motivate and inspire myself through some fairly daunting challenges. I also wrote to help guide and assist Deb and the boys through both calm and stormy waters as any good husband and father should, especially since I almost didn’t get a chance to do so given the circumstances that almost took my life. Thereafter it spread to a select group of friends, likeCole, Dee Dee, and other family members who seemed to take something from what I shared with them. From there, I continued to write for those same people and a growing number of others who could possibly use it, and because it continued to give me peace, a cathartic release, and just to remind me of so much I can’t afford to ignore again.
What I write I share with a great deal of humility and not an ounce of vanity or ego, and most certainly not in a misguided attempt for attention. Usually intentional attempts for the latter soon become transparent with a lasting impression that is usually contrary to the original intent. Trust me, my desire and need for attention is minimal but I keep an eye out for those who could use or rightfully deserve it.
The bottom line is that through a lot of trial and error with varying levels of success, middle-grounds, and products of questionable choices, I’ve acquired a lot of information over 52 years since I’ve had a considerable amount of time to reflect upon it. In the end, I needed to get whatever messages to my family in case my next battle with mortality may not end up as favorable and who else is going to care enough and have the time do it other than Deb? I’m so thankful that anyone beyond my close circle finds meaning in anything I’ve shared and that those who fall into the latter category described above (or even those somewhere on the fence) can use it. But all I hope is that if you get nothing from what I share, please find it somewhere because there’s an abundance of individuals out there that give us the opportunity. As for me, I often find it at times in some of those who may be reading this right now (i.e., Deb, Jason, Christian Dee Dee, Cole, my Uncle Sam and Aunt Irma, my cousin Marcy, Jessie, Marlena, etc.) even though they may not know it and all I can simply say is…Thank You!
I’ll end with this. “The heart that gives, gathers.” – Marianne Moore. It’s a big reason why I still write but more importantly why I continue to SHARE!