“What Would You Have Me Do for You?”

January 30, 2018 in Inspirational

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!


Hitting the Bulls-Eye, Okay the Nose…

April 5, 2010 in Inspirational

A long time ago you planned to get  into shape, exercised your intellectual and creative muscles and set out to win a particular goal.  And then one day it happened, it all paid off. Zing!  You hit the bulls-eye.  You won the prize, got the promotion, found the love of your life, reaped the rewards and it felt good.  Bravo for you!

As good as winning can feel, most of life is not about actually hitting the bulls-eye.  It’s a little more like hitting the bulls nose or maybe the tail, but the thing is, as far as life is concerned, those efforts might actually be hitting a little more “on the nose” than other things.  Setting the goal is good.  Working toward the goal is better.  But experiencing all that happens in between and allowing it to guide you and shape you into the brilliant creative human being God designed you to be is the best.

We all know the stories of those who persevered.  Great scientists seeking to turn on the light or fly a kite or hear the sound of another human voice from a great distance, tried and failed, and luckily for us, tried again and succeeded after monumental efforts.  We’ve heard of singers who lived out of their cars or actors who didn’t have one good movie tryout until one day, they suddenly had a chance for the role of a lifetime.  We know that some books have hit the market and created a phenomenal stir, catapulting the author into a household name only to finally disappear like so many rock and roll wonders of the early 60’s.  Perseverance than is a good thing and usually a key thing when you’re aiming at a bulls-eye.

Just moments ago, it was January and we were gearing up for a new year and setting some new goals, making our resolutions to lose weight or become more of what we want ourselves to be.  Now, it’s already April and the first third of the year is quickly slipping away.  Where are you on those resolutions?  If you’re anything like me, you’re already sizing things up, the long term goals still looming, the short term goals already accomplished or soon to be.  You’re hitting the mark sometimes and missing by a mile other times.

The point is, where are you?  Are you so focused on the goal, you’re missing the fun you can have at practice, or getting prepared for it?  Are you so determined to win some weeks down the road, that today is passing you by without even a nodding glance?  Have you had five minutes to say hello to your neighbor, or twenty minutes to simply rest and meditate?

If we’re going to make this year count and really hit it on the nose, then we have to do better than just keeping our eye on the prize.  We have to prize each moment that we get to try again, each opportunity to learn something more about ourselves, and persevere in becoming authentically the person we know we are meant to be.  Maybe that’s our calling, even more than becoming the COO of a company or winning the Lottery.  Maybe the win-win is still nestled into the moments that we let slip away into the breeze and become warm memories.

Let’s notice.  Sure keep the target out on the field and keep your arrow poised for the big black circle in the center, but remember that it’s okay if you don’t hit it every time.  It’s okay if you get lost noticing the trees or the birds or something that you see beyond the target.  That’s the mark.  Let the arrow fly then, and follow it wherever it lands.  Hey, you may impress yourself in a new way!