Thursday, October 5, 2017

25 Years of Wisdom

It's hard to believe I've been around for a quarter of a century now. That cluster of words has a certain ring to it which bodes well with knowledge and experience. So much life behind. So many experiences had. Yet somehow, I still feel like a redheaded newsboy standing on Broad Street calling to passersby for a penny in exchange for my little paper of knowledge. A bit of dirt smudged on my cheek. Grimy hands. Knowing my corner of the world like the back of my fist and yet realizing that out beyond, there's a world full of wild and crazy just waiting to be explored. More newsboys. More papers. More knowledge being spread. More people making the world go round and round and round.

The other day, someone asked what wisdom I had to share after 25 years. On a whim, I simply said, "Never go to bed mad." This world is too full of hurt and anger and disappointment. But everyone knows that. I tried thinking of something unique, something insightful, something that only I had discovered during my 25 years of living. An equation. A light bulb. Wings. Have I really spent so much time simply sucking up the life around me without giving back? Then I remembered a patient I had the other day. During an illustrious career, he'd worked with NASA as a mechanical engineer in the control room during the Mercury and Apollo missions. A brilliant man, his name is noted in history for the work he accomplished during some of the most triumphant years of our country. Yet now as I cared for him, he could do nothing but smile and respond with yes/no answers to my simple questions. He was surrounded by a loving family who cared for him and even in his old age, his stalwart dignity was hardly faded. He may not have invented the rocket, but his intellect helped put man on the moon.

Every day, we're faced with opportunities to give back. We're given chances to show that our life is not just a time waster and space taker. We were created for more; to be a hero in a world of need. Heroes don't have limits. There is no set entrance exam. Heroes deliver the mail every day. Heroes empty our trash. Heroes keep drains unclogged and floors swept. They build buildings and fly planes. They teach. They inspire.

Only when we realize the world doesn't need us can we begin to understand how much it wants us. Chances are, if you were to not show up to work tomorrow or decided your favorite restaurant wasn't that great anymore, life would go on. New employees would come, new customers would buy. We're such a tiny piece in a massive puzzle. We make ourselves feel important and then worry when things go wrong. We feel life is hopeless without money and pointless without love. But once you realize everything you have is an opportunity - a privilege, not a right - your entire reality begins to shift. You appreciate people more, you laugh at corny jokes just because, you spend time doing things that interest you because life is an opportunity, not a chore. You become a wellspring of life to the people you come in contact with.

So here I am, calling out to you as you scroll past in your busy day. My posts are cheap; free in fact. After 25 years, I don't necessarily have anything radical to share. The knowledge is mainstream; you can get most of it by reading the world around you. Yet I share because I have to. If I didn't, I'd be begging for sustenance while life paid me no heed. Take the paper - or leave it. It's your choice. All I ask is that you don't read for my sake.

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