I know a lot has been said about my writing. And not only how I write, but also what I write about. Starting well over a year ago, people from all walks of life began telling me, "Gus, what you write about is inspiring. But it's more than that. It's the WAY you write about it. You write like many of us feel but we can't express it in written form the way you do. And what you have to say does inspire people, more than you probably know."
Recently, I was talking with an old childhood friend of mine from back home in Kansas, a woman I grew up with and went to school with starting when we were in kindergarten. She works at the local Farm Service Agency in the town where I grew up in Tribune. I'd called there since I still have some farming interests back home and we got to talking about our lives. I was asking her about her health since she had told me this past August that she'd been having some issues. At one point she said, "I see on Facebook you might be coming out with a book some day." I told her it was something I was thinking of but wasn't sure, still not knowing where Ramblings was taking me. I remember her distinctly saying, "If it inspires ONE person, then it would be successful." I think that nails it on the head.
If you think about people in this world who inspire others, most of the time we think of people who are famous. People who get on television for instance. I remember over a year ago, well before the thought of starting this blog came to mind, I was talking with one of my sisters one day as we were travelling to visit family in Tribune. We were talking of my journey over the years in terms of dealing with my disease now that I was on the mend and I mentioned to her about all the people I had encountered over the years, but especially since the middle of 2008, and how many people had been telling me that I had a way of inspiring them with my story, both with the written word and in speaking. I went on to say many had been suggesting I write a book and I was thinking about it. I'll never forget the look on her face and what she said. She sort of glanced at me funny with this look of skepticism and said, "Well, it's not like what you have gone through hasn't been done before or like no one else has already written about it."
While I understood that what she said wasn't meant to diminish my feelings and I respected her opinion, I remember my reaction internally. And though I did my best not to show it to her, it made me feel I was unworthy. More importantly, those words laid a small seed of doubt in my heart and mind. Later, I dismissed those feelings. Here's why.
If everyone who ever had an inspiration that came to mind, something they felt very passionate about, something that others told them couldn't be done, and then didn't follow through with it because someone told them so, where would our world be? Did the Wright brothers give up on flying just because people scoffed at the idea of man actually flying? An extreme example, yes. But really, stop and think about it. Much of what I write about is heart and spirit. About not giving up and not giving in. Staying positive in the face of defeat. Here's another example and this one may be even more extreme, comparatively speaking, to my situation. Was Jesus accepted at first? Didn't everyone question him? I mean come on, who could believe all that he came up with? Of course, we know what happened with his life, don't we?
Please don't misunderstand; I'm neither comparing myself to the Wright brothers and certainly not to Jesus. The point I'm trying to make is that ANY OF US are capable of truly great and inspiring things. The reason why we don't or, more importantly, choose NOT TO, is because of what others tell us we CAN'T do, and also what our minds tell us we CAN'T do.
Those of you who read this and who know me, also know my story, especially over the past few years. I came close to death, not once, but twice. Worse, it came because of choices I made, not ones others made for me. But, for whatever reason, God spared me. Once that fog lifted and I could see clearly, I haven't taken a look back since. No one can tell me I can't do something because I've proven, with God's help, that I CAN. And the same thing goes for anyone else! Just because someone says, "Ah, don't kid yourself. You can't do that. Someone else has already done it, anyway." That's hogwash.
So, I'm plowing forward and moving ahead. My advice to anyone else with something they are passionate about, especially something that is socially redeemable or inspiring to others, is to do the same. Like my friend said, "If you inspire ONE person, it will be worth it." Isn't ONE person enough? You have to start somewhere, right? After all, we were all born of the same cloth so to speak. NONE of us were born famous. The only reason why we do great things with our lives is because we don't accept defeat. We never say NEVER. The Wright brothers didn't, why should you?