OK, this year I want to take a minute to give a shout-out to a few people that mean a lot to me and keep affecting my life in positive ways. So, in no particular order here they are:
- My Mom
- Donald High
- Berlenda Hubbard
- Cindy Fredericks Reed
- Carla Jo Howlett
- Edgelle Pettigrew
- Tumi Johnson
- Olivia Chase
- Maurice C. Blaustein
- Brian Mcgowan
- Dave Andre
- Garth Rose
- Kevin Lee
- Charles Fraizer
- Richard Swift
- Kanti Chakrabarti
- Mikie Boone
- Steve Grevious
In this list are a mom, dad, doctor, mentors, aunts, sisters, brothers, counselors, colleagues, confidants and dear, close friends.
With all of you, I can be my true, nerdy self, and you love me for it. With you, I can contemplate, speculate, pontificate, joke, laugh, cry, share deep thoughts about anything from politics, work, metaphysics, diet, life and my favorite past time, biking.
The community of spirits in my life is by no means defined by this finite list of people. I just want to take the time, in this 55th year of my life, to point out a few people for whom my life has been made richer because they are in it.
I am grateful for everyone I have met in this life thus far; even the person I pass on the street and simply give a polite smile to. Or the lady I met at the restaurant the other day while picking up an order; we spoke for only five minutes but gave each other a big hug at the end of our conversation. Or the fellow biker a met on my ride the other day; we chatted for a mile or two, shook hands and road our separate ways; a brief, but enriching encounter.
All encounters, all interactions, all experiences good and bad, I am grateful for all of them. And I am grateful for all of you, every spirit that comes into my experience every single day; for you, all of you…, you help to shape and make me a better person each and every day of my life. To all of you, I have nothing but humble praise and gratitude and I say, THANK YOU!
On this day, I’m reminded of the many pieces of advice my father gave me over the years; much of which I didn’t listen well to or understand fully until now. Of his key pieces of advice, one was about pits; in fact, this was a piece of advice he had given me many times; I’m just hardheaded or a very slow learner.
I would tell my dad about something I wanted to do or be, someplace I was planning to go, some girl I wanted to date, something I wanted to buy; you know, things like that. Dad would sit and calmly listen to my ramblings for a time; I was wise enough to be brief. Then, at the end of my conversation, if he felt I may be going down the wrong path or a difficult path, he would stand up, look right into my eyes and say, in a very loud voice, “Pit Here!”. I would frown right back at him and say, “Come on Dad! What do you mean, Pit Here?”
Then dad would sit back down and calmly say to me, you’re about to fall into a pit; so, you have two choices; you can listen to the advice I’m about to give you and avoid falling into the pit, or you can discard my advice and most likely fall into the pit.
I would take a huffy, half-hearted deep breath, to impart my discomfort in having to take his advice, and then I’d say, “Oh… O right… What’s the pit I’m about to fall into? A hint of a very small smile would appear on dad’s face, and then he would give me some very sound advice.
Now, when I look back over the many events of my life, I must honestly tell you, I did not always follow his advice; and sure enough, over these past 55 years, I have fallen into more than a few pits; some very deep ones I might add.
Now Dad, knew that I wasn’t always going to listen to some of his advice; in fact, I think he knew that I wasn’t going to listen to most of his advice. So, dad would always end his advisory pit conversation, with “how to get out of the pit advice, when you have fallen into the pit”. Now, this advice I had listened to very well and memorized; it has come in handy more than a few times and got me out of some pretty deep pits.
Dad always concluded his pit advice with the following summary statement. “It’s not such a bad thing that you fall into a pit; that’s what life is all about, the journey through pitted and smooth experiences. What’s most important, is how you see yourself once you’re in the pit, that you forgive yourself for falling into the pit, and that you pull yourself out of the pit, dust yourself off, move on to the next experience and try to avoid falling into the same pit again.”
I’m pointing to this story because, during my 55 years, when I have fallen into a pit, many of you have been there to reach down into the pit, extend your hand to help me out of the pit and dust me off so that I could continue on my way. So, again, I say, THANK YOU! For had it not been for your helping hand, in those times that I had fallen into a pit, I don’t know for sure if I could have made it out of the pit on my own.
No one can walk this life alone. We are all made better by the spirits and angels that surround us; the people who are our moms, dads, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, teachers, counselors, advisors, confidants, lovers and dear, dear friends.
What advice can I share from my 55 years? If there are people in your life who have in the past or are now making a positive impact in your life, find the time to let them know simply by saying, THANK YOU! You may never fully realize how positive an impact that simple statement may affect a person and you, and how much joy, love and positive energy it creates by sincerely saying, THANK YOU!
And lastly, as my father would often say, from the pulpit, at Second Baptist Church, on Sunday afternoons, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Now, go and sin no more”. Amen.
Good and sound advice, Dad. Thank you 🙂
Hycel B. Taylor III