We are who others make us.
That’s not absolutely true. But much of the good (and bad) we experience in life is due to the influence, support, and at times, correction of others.
Reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, reminded me that “no one…ever makes it alone” (115). This made me want to thank the family, friends, pastors, teachers, and bosses who have had a positive hand in the making of me, average as I am.
Thank you, Dad
For teaching me the don’t-pay-someone-do-it-yourself work ethic, and the trust-Jesus-not-yourself biblical faith. I’d be a pauper twice over without you. I still miss you…
Thank you, Mom
For getting me through math word problems in junior high, for teaching me how to drive, for all the help with college applications, and for not letting money stand in the way of my opportunity to tour Europe with the New York/New England Youth Chorale in 1980.
Thank you, Middle School Teacher
For calling me out for being intellectually lazy and for having a chip on my shoulder, even though I’ve forgotten your name. You did the right thing.
Thank you, Alan
For teaching me to work smart, not hard, at Toy Town Food Center, and for reminding me that no one looks like they’re working if their hands are in their pockets.
Thank you, Fran
For getting me started learning to build stuff when you hired me to help you build your post-and-beam house in 1981. I framed a storage room in my basement yesterday. I think you’d be proud.
Thank you, Mr. Wright
For yelling at me when I showed no ambition at all after you told me my SAT scores and asked what my plans were. It was the most motivating kick in the pants I’ve ever received.
Thank you, Norris & Bert Gallop
For loving me when I was a stranger, and for guiding me out of my self-righteousness with humor when you told me you thought Elijah just walked into the room.
Thank you, Dr. Gordon Anderson
For telling me this when I told you your class was shaking my faith: “Whatever can be shaken, will be, and probably should be.” You helped me take my first steps away from a pseudo-faith based on legalism and emotions.
Thank you, Dr. Greg Beal
For the most fascinating classes I’ve ever had, and for encouraging me to pursue post-graduate studies in theology. I followed another path, and not very well, but thanks for believing in me. I’ve tried to use the tools you gave me.
Thank you, Ron & Doris Turner
For loving me and Dawn unconditionally and allowing us to be part of your family when we were far from home. Words aren’t enough. We’re praying for you, Ron, during your battle with cancer.
Thank you, Don Filbeck & Bob Christianson
For taking us under your wing at different times, and for helping us not feel alone during one of the toughest times of our lives.
Thank you, Duane Juve
For showing me what patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and faithfulness look like. I miss you, too.
Thank you, Steve & Elaine Gossett
For loving us faithfully after all these years, in spite of ourselves, even when others didn’t. With you love wasn’t earned; it was offered, and it feels like the hand of God on our shoulder.
Thank you, Loren Burke
For turning a seemingly random conversation into a meaningful career change for me after my discouraging departure from professional ministry. You are at the center of perhaps the most obvious and significant God-moment I’ve experienced.
Thank you, Terry Jones
For believing I had something to offer, for mentoring me, for enjoying my growth, and for finding opportunities for me to do what I love. You always have something new for me chew on.
Thank you, Randy Pope
For giving me the opportunity to work with you on your life project. I may never do anything more significant. What an honor it was! And you still send me thank you cards. I can’t believe it.
Thank you, Häns & Ellie, Haley & Heidi
For your patience and forgiveness as I imperfectly try to parent with what I’ve received and learned from others.
Thank you, Dawn
For the love you give, which I’ve yet to deserve. I’m learning to cherish that gift more and more. Thank you for being nice (wink) enough to go on that first date in January, 1984.
Thank you, Jesus
For bringing all these people into my life as messengers of your truth and grace and glory. But mostly, thank you for what you did. Once. For all.
And for me.
I bow in wonder.
Who made you who you are?
- God’s Will and Your Big, Stupid Mistakes—4 Things to Remember
- Why God Answers Prayer
- The Two Most Obvious—And Overlooked—Facts of Life
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