I’m just a grateful cowpoke…and somebody!
I was born with dreams of grandeur. For as long as I can recall, I wanted to be somebody who mattered.
I was pretty young the first time I heard someone (probably a dadgum preacher) say, “Put your finger in a glass of water and pull it out. The hole it leaves is the same size as the one you will leave when you are gone.”
Well, I didn’t like that, so I set out to be somebody.
I’M Still nobody
I woke up one morning and it was September 28, 2001. I was forty already and had, not so long before, started over in my career, after having already started over four years before.
Holy cow! I was doing a reset on a restart.
“Still nobody and the clock is ticking,” I thought.
Somewhere between the finger in the water analogy and my 40th, I had run across Socrates (probably while a seminary student in the early 80s) and this famous quote: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Then it was September 28, 2011 and I was in a cubicle filled with black balloons with a cake covered in black icing that humorously lamented my age. It was all given to me by a new group of friends that I had only met because, you guessed it, I had started over about six years before.
who’s Calling? nobody.
September 28, 2021 is just ten months away. So, I am thinking about that last Saturday when my phone rings and my son-in-law, Ed Frys, is on the other end of the (wireless, invisible, magical) line. For the longest, Ed has called me to settle various disputes regarding theology and history and such between himself and his wife, my daughter, Holly.
The issue this time arises from his use of the term “cowpoke” in a company video he and Holly made for their social media followers. It cracked Holly up. She accused him of making up the word. To her utter dismay (not really, she was laughing her butt off), I confirmed Ed’s assertion that “cowpoke” is a “southern idiom,” as he put it.
Nobody calling; Somebody answered!
Somewhere during the course of this short, fun, nonsensical phone call, I realized I had made it. I am somebody! I am the arbiter of disputes between my children. I am their trusted source of knowledge. I am the one they call when they have something funny to say or something sad to share or something hard to face…or a question.
Being somebody is not just about the scale of your life or the scope of your influence. It is about the investment you make in the lives of those around you, those who love you and whom you love.
I was thinking about that as I hung up the phone with Edward and then I remembered that, within the past couple of weeks, friends had come to me either for advice or support. That is something, isn’t it? You don’t call nobody to share your heart or seek input. You call somebody – somebody you trust!
Somebody wake me.
I think sometimes I am too much like George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I get too lost in the dreams I chased and never caught or the opportunities I desired that never came.
Every George Bailey needs a Clarence Odbody, some unlikely angel to shake him from the stupor of a self-destructive nightmare and remind him that his really is “a wonderful life.”
My firstborn, Ashley, is on a successful career path. She is funny, bright, and loyal. She loves Christmas more than Santa does. She is married to a wonderful man, one of the hardest working I have met. She is mother to my incredibly wonderful grandson, Ty.
Lacey, my baby, the one we were not expecting until we found out we were, has been the light of my life all of her life. She is smart, funny, beautiful, driven, and good at her core.
Holly is brilliant, bright, and beautiful. She has been in a fight from birth. Born with a disability (a word that almost makes no sense when you know her), she has met every challenge, surpassed all expectations, and established herself as a force for good in the world, an inspiration to, literally, tens of thousands of people around the world.
When the Devil or doubt ride me like a rented mule, telling me I am nobody, never was, and never will be, I won’t give my credentials. I won’t list my accomplishments. I won’t tout my pedigree or prominence.
I will just refer them to my family and friends, the ones who sometimes defer to me to settle silly disputes, give sage advice, or wipe saline tears.
nobody left. Somebody lives here now.
In three days, my family will defy the wisdom of those who would dictate our movements and seek to keep us apart, allegedly in the name of public health. We will gather. We will feast on the blessings of His bounty and bask in the glory of His presence.
I will never be somebody to everybody the way Socrates was. But I won’t be like the hole left in a glass of water by the retracted finger, either. Because they live, it matters that I do.
Because He lives, everybody is somebody.