The Power of Life #1

I can’t be everything to everyone.  But, I can be something to someone.  Do we put too much emphasis on being “worldwide”?  Are we too preoccupied with followers and likes and numbers and popularity?  Maybe not all of us, but a big “YES” for many of us. 


As a child I never thought to myself that I would be happy to simply have a wonderful impact on the people in my life – my family, my friends, my community.  I thought that I wanted to be rich and famous.  I never considered the peace and happiness that could be found in simply being the best me that I could be.  Regardless of how rich and famous that it would make me.


Some of the accountability for this reality falls squarely on my shoulders.  For I wanted what I wanted.  Nobody came to me at a young age and told me that I should want to be rich and famous. The rich and famous thing came from somewhere inside of me. 


Yet, the culture around me also had some accountability.  I was born in the 1960’s, and I grew up as a media kid – TV, radio, movies, records, etc.  I distinctly remember the perception of two worlds.  (1) The world of the everyday living, have a job and a family and a house world, that was experienced by the majority of people.  And (2) the impactful, now known as an influencer, world of the rich and famous.  The former was seen by me as somehow less than the latter.  Thus, the latter was what I desired.


I think the first time that I ever started to seriously question this perspective in my life was in 2002, when the reality show American Idol first aired.  Being interested in music myself, the thought of a show that would allow normal, everyday people to become stars was revolutionary.  It came at a time in my life when I perceived that my rich and famous, life #2 perspective, was stuck. Thus, I was struck.


See, I had a wonderful life.  A great job, a fantastic wife and two awesome daughters.  I also lived fifteen minutes from some of the most wonderful beaches on the Gulf of Mexico.  It was a dream come true.  Yet, I still had that kid in me with the two worlds perspective.  And I was beginning to realize that world #2 wasn’t in the cards for me.  I was at a crossroads and I didn’t even fully realize it at the time. 


As I watched that first season of American Idol, I realized just how many really talented singers are out there.  Without this show I and the rest of America would have never heard of any of them.  Not because they lacked talent but because it takes more than mere talent to be rich and famous.  I thought of the fact that Kelly Clarkson would have ended up living a very world #1 life.  If it weren’t for this show.


Not that I was able to verbalize it at that time.  But that was when I started to understand and explore the simple power of world #1.  Not only the simple power of that world, but of the peace, happiness and contentment that can be found in living a world #1 life. 


My wife and I hadn’t yet coined this phrase in our lives, but this was the first steps in nurturing and developing a life of simplicity.  A reality that these days Michelle and I talk about on a regular basis.  I chalk it up to maturity which gives me an increasing ability to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit. 


For I have come to realize that there is power in living in world #1.  The power found in living the everyday life.  The power found in relationships.  The power found in the impact my life has on my family, my church, my school and my community.  The power found in being the best me that I can be.  And letting go of everything else that hinders me from all of this. 


This reality was brought to the forefront this morning when I read of the death of Barry Wood.  Who is Barry Wood you ask?  He was a teacher and the director of Thespian Troupe #185 at Peters Township High School.  He was also the man that gave this senior in high school with no acting experience, never been in a musical but could sing, kid a chance.  He cast me as Joseph in Joseph and The Amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat.  Which turned out to be one the top five experiences so far in my life. 


As I read the words of former students, friends and colleagues of Mr. Wood.  I was struck by the raw power of successfully living life #1.  He wasn’t everything to everyone.  But he was certainly something to several someone’s, me included. 



So, here’s to all of us who are living simple, life #1, being the best you that you can be lives out there.  We might not be rich and famous.  But our lives mean so much to those we impact every single day.