It’s remarkable how personal experiences in life change the way you reflect on things. A year ago cancer was a thing that happened to people, but it wasn’t dramatically impacting my life. It’s not a thing I really knew how to respond to. I’d give a “that’s really unfortunate” kind of response, help how I could, but largely move on with life. Now I’m sitting on the other side of that equation. People generally don’t know how to respond. It’s a terrible thing to go through, but people don’t understand what it’s like, and I really don’t know how to explain it. Similarly, I can’t grasp with what Tiah is going through, as the one who takes the brunt of my bad days.
One thing that has changed for me, is I see cancer everywhere now. It sort of jumps out at you in ways it never did before. Acquaintances that have had it, songs about it, the surprising amount of local fundraisers, movie plot lines, it really is quite prevalent. I recently wrote about Chelsea Berler, and since that time Tiah designed the July Inspired Woman, which happens to feature her as the cover story. I already had her first book, but Tiah ordered her new book as well, read them both, and was so impacted that reading is her new hobby. She has also found herself getting emotional during movies and songs because they remind her of what we’re going through.
Hard To Write
So many of these things were going through my head as I watched Zach Braff’s film, Wish I Was Here. I’m a big fan of his, in part because his work tends to have a great soundtrack. This movie has proven to be the catalyst to organize a lot of thoughts which until now have not resembled cohesive writing. The grand unifying thought?
The closer you are to someone or some thing, the more personally you take it.
That is a thought that makes it hard to write. There is a lot I want to write about, but I also fear the potential blow back. Not because there is any good reason for people to get upset, but when you know the person on the other side of the words, it becomes more personal. As a technical and geeky guy, it’s frustrating to be telling people what the solution to a problem is, only to be ignored and shot down until someone else comes and puts it on corporate letterhead. It’s maddening to have someone get upset with something you have said or an example you have used because they may have been involved in that part of your life, but they’re all too eager to use stories from other writers illustrating the exact same point featuring people they’ll never meet.
My Greatness Is Overstated
It is most definitely true that I am not Jon Acuff, Seth Godin, Carey Nieuwhoff, or Andy Stanley. Nor am I Jim Collins, Patrick Lencioni, Donald Miller, or Chip & Dan Heath. Those authors have all earned a tremendous amount of street cred that I will most likely never achieve. They have also all had a tremendous influence on me. Nevertheless, I could write or discuss the same topics any one of them has, and the people I know would never take my thought as seriously as any of theirs, and that’s ok. What is bothersome is when the response to my thought is that of hurt or attack, and the response to the well known author is of a remarkable insight not before considered.
The words in these blogs are not expected to match the eloquence and articulation of a published author who put hundreds of hours into a book before handing it off to multiple editors for further checks and rewrites. What you read here might get sat on for a couple of days before another read through with a handful of tweaks. But it hurts when the response from those I know comes back as though I had set out to attack them because something involving both of us was used as an example. Everything these authors write was an example drawn from somewhere, you just happen to not know them or be part of their story.
Write What You Know
Upcoming posts may feature stories or examples that may remind some of you of things you were part of. Please remember these are not attacks on anyone, but stories that prove a point, and many times the point may be something I have learned from someone else, with the stories of people I don’t know. Hopefully someone, somewhere, will learn something important, and be inspired to grow personally or professionally. Maybe you will be one of them.
Stay Out Of The Rut
Last weekend one of my oldest friends stopped by for a few hours to visit and it was so very needed. I got to talk about farming, and Steer, and life outside of Bismarck. We may not want to admit it, but us Bismarckians can fall into a bubble. Businesses, churches, even friendships can often operate quite differently just 90 miles away than they do across town. It doesn’t make it right or wrong, better or worse, just different. It was a wake up call that as someone who is writing and hoping that writing is impactful, that a fear of what people I know think should not hold me back. Someone disagreeing with something written doesn’t make it wrong, sometimes it means they don’t want to admit a change is needed, or they may not want to have an honest dialogue about it. It may also mean that there is a component that I haven’t learned yet that will someday change my thought. Either way, writing must be bold, or it is destined to fall by the wayside.