Ahhhh. A new year has begun and with it are resolutions… lose weight, stop smoking, attend weekly church service, the list goes on, and on, and on… As I was beginning this post and thinking about the new year, I began to think of all the things a new year can bring. The thought that I can’t seem to shake is of new beginnings.
Unless you’ve been on a media sabbatical for the past week, you’ve undoubtedly either seen video of and/or heard the story of Ted Williams and his AMAZING voice. As I saw the video, I, like many of you I’m sure, were amazed by his booming baritone, and how the voice seemed not to match the face to which it was attached. I’m really glad that Ted shared the story of his trip to a radio station when he was younger and how he had a similar experience meeting a DJ. “Theatre of the mind” I believe he termed it. There are many lessons that can be drawn from that story, and I’ll let you extract your own. One that stood out to me was that Ted was inspired by meeting this on-air personality to the point that he said to himself, “I can do that.” Never miss an opportunity to plant a seed of inspiration to someone who shows a spark when meeting you. No matter how mundane you may think your life, or the circumstances that brought you to your current situation, you could be… you are the launching pad for someone else’s dream. You are not your own. None of us lives in a vacuum in which our actions have no effect on those around us.
The second thing that spoke to me about this story is the not so much the sad turn of events that brought Ted to where we see him in the video, but the fact that in spite of these things, he’s here. The difficulties in his life, which some might say are self-inflicted, did not take him out. No one knows the future of his journey through life, but I’m inspired by the fact that those things, be they good or bad, can serve to help him endure future trials, tribulations, griefs, sorrows, joys, celebrations, in his life. So many times we despise the small things, we hide the scars and bruises thinking that these things disqualify us from enjoying our current successes and triumphs. These are the very things which have prepared us for where we are. Were they always champagne wishes and caviar dreams? Probably not. How can you really know joy if you’ve never experienced pain? How can you know comfort if you’ve never been disheartened? How can you know the thrill of triumph if you’ve never experienced the trial of overcoming obstacles? All in all, I’m sure you wish Ted the best in his future endeavors.
As I was watching this video, I also has another thought. What must God be thinking watching His handiwork? How he must be beaming with pride as His child is coming to national, worldwide fame. That’s what so many people misunderstand about God. They view Him as a great and supernatural power waiting to smite us with a lightning bolt at the slightest misstep , slip-up or indiscretion. There was a sermon I heard that described how children who were raised in a household of grace are so well-equipped to understand the character of God. They don’t live their lives afraid to do anything that upsets mommy or daddy in the least because they fear the repercussions. They rightly know that parents aren’t always pleased with everything their children do, but they know they have the freedom to make mistakes without setting off a volcano of parental rebuke. They walk and live with the liberty to take risks and know that even when things don’t go as planned there are lessons to be learned and life skills to be honed and sharpened. Try not to be your own worst enemy.
To close, I can recall my eighth grade promotional exercise. I was the student with the highest GPA so I was selected to emcee the ceremony. As I came to the podium, I scanned the audience to see all the parents and relatives in attendance and as I was preparing to speak, I saw my father in the bleachers of the gym and I paused and nodded. My dad, nodded back and smiled. At that point, no one else in the room mattered. I was playing to an audience of one. I recall being somewhat nervous speaking in front of the audience before me, but when my dad gave me that sign of approval, all the butterflies disappeared. At that point on that day, I hadn’t really done anything yet to garner any special attention. I had yet to utter a single word. Yet, I knew I had everything I needed. My father’s approval. Not because I was smart as a whip and had bested my classmates in our studies, though I had. Nope. I had his approval because I was his son. There was nothing I could do to change that in any way. None of my failures or disappointments could alter that. There is a certain security in that that I still carry with me to this day. As my dad’s only child and my mom’s oldest son, I tend to seek out parental approval. I’m sorta wired for it. To know that it was mine that day not because of what I’d done but because of who I am is still one of my most cherished memories of my youth. I thank God that because of the sacrifice of Jesus, I have the same standing with my heavenly father. As my father’s birthday approaches I dedicate this post to him and the calming influence he had and continues to have on my life.
Happy Birthday Dad!!!
For those who haven’t seen the video, here’s some inspiration from Ted Williams.