Most of the people on my list you will never have heard of. They live quiet ordinary lives. They choose to pour extraordinary into others. Many of them are teachers. Not surprising, perhaps.
There is Mrs. Freels, my third grade teacher, who suggested to my parents that perhaps I should move ahead a grade. They decided against it, but her faith in me has never left me. It was the first time I ever thought of myself as smart.
Darryl Burgess created quite a ruckus in my little back woods Baptist church with his long hair, but he built into the lives of our little band of teenagers. He gave me my first opportunity to play in a real band. Many of the musical paths I have walked since can be traced back to him.
Dr. Nancy Boone I loved...and feared. :) She frequently put me in situations I didn't think I could handle. Because she believed in me. Because she saw more in me than I saw in myself. I grew exponentially under her tutelage because she stretched and pushed me. I am forever in her debt.
Rhonda Kemp has been conduit to many of the very best things in my life. She was my homeschooling mentor. She opened to me a world of beautiful books, unit studies, and field trips. Ever the great matchmaker, she has introduced me to countless people who have made my life richer, and hopefully vice versa. Perhaps most notably, she provided my entroit to the remarkable Tuesday Bible study that has, in many ways, saved my life.
Then there are Kari and Jen and Jen with whom I spend my Wednesday evenings. They are younger--and prettier :) --than me. Supposedly I mentor them, but most of the time it feels the other way round. They know all my secrets. And love me anyway. And together, we chase after truth and after LIFE.
Just a sampling of more than a hundred names on my list. A list of gratitude. A list of remembrance.
Know whom you owe. Know that you owe. You're fooling yourself if you think you made it or will ever make it on your own.
Hugh Hewitt issues this challenge in his insightful book In, But Not Of: Make a list of those who have helped you become who you are. Begin with your family. Be fair. Even if you harbor ill will toward family members, did they make sacrifices to give you opportunities? Then think of teachers, coaches, scout leaders. How about mentors? friends? your children? Who gave you a break? Who saw in you something you did not see in yourself?
I have seen some criticisms of former President George W. Bush's new memoir, Decision Points. They say it is self-serving and paints him more heroically than it should. But here is what struck me most in the book. He remembers people who invested in him. Who encouraged and believed in him. Who were indispensable to successes in his life. I believe this is a good and honorable trait.
How about you? Who are the people who invested in your life? Who gave you the big break? Who shared wisdom? faith? Make a list. Give thanks. And, if you feel so inclined, write a note. Make a call.
One other thought worth pondering: Who do you suppose would put you on their list?
*Both bolded quotes in the post are from Hugh Hewitt.