Recently, I was honored by my former High School and inducted into the Unatego Hall of Distinction for my work in writing and publishing. It was a tender moment for me, an opportunity to reconnect with old friends who are still dear to my heart, and to make new friends as well. During the day, I had a chance to speak to three of the current high school classes about the work I do. Since I was born and raised in a small upstate New York town, I was asked by one of the teachers to help the students understand how it is possible to come from humble roots and still make your mark in the world. I thought that was a good question and so as I spoke to the students, I found myself suddenly 17 again, sitting in a classroom and wondering what could possibly be beyond those walls. Back then, I wanted to be a teacher and I hoped somehow to have a positive effect on the people around me.
I gave them a brief glimpse of my journey from teacher, to the greeting card industry, and on to publishing. I realize that we may each measure success differently, but the thing that is important is to recognize our own talents and strengths, and then do what we can to make a difference in the world. As I said to the students, “It’s not where you come from that matters. It’s about where you want to go.” All of this brings me full circle to the Gospel story of Jesus and the blind man. Jesus asks the man, “What would you have me do for you?” Now, most of us would think it’s obvious. The man wants to see, he wants to have his eyes opened. Or is it?
Here’s my thought. I think we can get complacent about life. We can give ourselves excuses about why we didn’t become what we meant to become, or why we never accomplished our goals. We can be blind to those things that seem obvious to others. We can imagine that we’re out of time or out of possibility. I would challenge us to rethink that. I would challenge all of us to get more curious about who we are and seek to have our eyes opened so that we could see more clearly all that we still can be.
I know for myself, I’m just at the starting gate. I’m still curious about what else God has for me. I want Him to touch my heart in a way that gives me a panoramic view of all that I can accomplish. When I think that way, I’m rejuvenated, 17 again, willing to risk and try and fail and if I’m lucky, perhaps even be successful. I’m still working on the answer that I would give if Jesus asked me, “What would you have me do for you?” Maybe you are too!