“My wife.” “My family.” “The Crit Nazis.” “An angry little voice inside my head named Sergio Velasquez of Pompedore.” These are common answers to the title question. And we often give thanks to these people around this time of the year. I know that Sergio was very happy that I mentioned him over Thanksgiving dinner prayer. But I also think that there are other people in our lives that deserve thanks for keeping us going and we don't often acknowledge them.
I'm not about to chastise you about service members or the Red Cross or something like that. I'm talking about people who don't even intend to help you out. They're just being themselves and for some reason that's all it takes. Something about their presence in your life, no matter how small, helps your inner voice to sing, “What I do really does matter.”
For my wife it would be the one in a hundred former student that chimes in on Facebook to say, “I used to love it when you'd read to us. That was my favorite time of class.” For you it's someone different, maybe a waiter at your favorite restaurant that knows your order by heart. Could be that manager in another department that makes sure to stop and tell you what a good job she thinks you're doing.
For the past few weeks my unknown motivators have been a couple of high school students. We'll call them David and Heather. Back when I was just about to let this entire blog thing die altogether, my wife stopped to ask me about it.
“So what's going on with the blog?”
“Eh, I'm not worried about it. If I feel inspired I might post something, but at this point I'm pretty much burnt out.”
She gave me that sad look as though she was witnessing a dream die in front of her. “That's too bad. My students asked me about it the other day.”
I looked up from my laptop. “Your students? Why would they ask you about it?”
“Some of them enjoy reading it and they wanted to know why you hadn't been on in a while.”
A few days later I took our son into school with me so that my wife could take pictures of a play. Heather happened to be in it, and Aiden loved Heather. He'd run across the stage to where she was standing on the ground below and jump off into her arms only to have me follow him all the way around to guide him up the stairs and then do it all over again.
At one point, while the little guy was distracted, she mentioned that she enjoyed reading what I put up here and said that she missed my posts.
Honestly, that was all that it took. A couple of inquiries from David and Heather was all that I needed to get that little voice inside my head to sing again.
So here's a great big thank you to you guys for sticking with me. I think that everyone reading this should go out an thank their secret inspiration, that person or persons who keep you going without their knowing it. Tis the season after all.