Today gives me a couple reasons to pause, be grateful, and to appreciate the gift of perspective. It seems that often, the day to day tasks and to-do’s rival perspective. And I know that throughout my life, I have tried to “rush” perspective. I believe that I have enough now to know that I didn’t have nearly as much as I thought I did at the age of 25. And I believe that whatever I have today will look small 15 years from now. There really is no rushing it. It occurs naturally as life unfolds. I happen to think a great deal of it comes through mistakes, failure, and pain… if we’re open to learning from those events.
The picture above are of two people I consider friends…Barry Winovich and Treg Charlton. They are one of the reasons for my time out for perspective today. They are both 3 years older than me and attended Chagrin Falls High School as I did. Though I was a freshman when they were seniors, they were nice to me when they didn’t have to be. I remember them both showing a great deal of interest in me when I played guitar and sang a Bob Dylan tune in the High School talent show my freshman…their senior year. The tune was “Shelter From the Storm.” Barry, Treg, and another good friend of mine and a guy I ended up working with for many years…Jack Subel, were nearly inseparable through High School, College at Ohio State, and after.
Almost 6 years ago, Barry was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS). He was in his early forties with 3 kids and a wife. Barry was faced with a decision to start dying or start living. With the help of Jack, Treg, and many others…he chose to live his ass off! They founded The Bright Side of the Road Foundation to raise money for ALS research. Much of the money is raised by bringing Barry’s friends and supporters together for an event that includes one of Barry’ passions…live music! http://brightsideoftheroad.org/ I’ve been to these events. One I remember most significantly was only a year or so after Barry’s diagnoses and was at The House of Blues in Chicago. I remember hanging out with Treg Charlton quite a bit that night, and enjoying our time together a great deal.
About 4 years after Barry’s ALS diagnoses, Treg Charlton was diagnosed with ALS. When I heard the news, it was truly unfathomable. Treg too in his mid forties with a wife and young children.
Both of these men are living with this disease today. As I watch them do so with courage and passion for life, love and fellowship…I am in awe…and I gain perspective. I want to thank you both for the gift you’ve given me and I know many others! As is often the case, things have come full circle. The Bright Side Foundation has asked me and my band to play at a guest bartending event to raise money and have fun together. I will be playing guitar and singing for Barry & Treg again. The event is Saturday, August 13 at the Old Whedon Grill in Hudson, OH from 7-11 PM. If you’re close and can attend…please do! I am raising tips for the cause, and you can leave a virtual tip for ALS at…
Today gives me another reason for perspective. It is the 20 year anniversary of the day I married my wife Kerrie. I find it very hard to believe that I could possibly be old enough for this to be true! But it is. Twenty years, and 4 children later I am almost mature enough to realize how lucky I am! I have been blessed with a partner that loves me, is courageous enough to challenge me, and is compassionate enough to understand my flaws. I am a far better man because of Kerrie. She has also given me the gift of my 4 children…Max, Will, Kate, and Claire…each of whom I love beyond my ability to express. What a wonderful job Kerrie does raising them. Happy Anniversary Kerrie. I’m grateful for your support personally and with Orazen Extruded Polymers. I love you.
For me…what wisdom and perspective I’ve gained so far from these and many other things starts to shape what life is all about….friendship, love, parenting, leadership, service. And I’ve learned that it gives more meaning and importance to doing our day to day jobs with passion and excellence. Not so much for the worldly rewards the effort might bring, but for the very fact that realizing our potential, working hard, serving, loving and leading are what we owe ourselves and those that we love. And because our children and many others are watching our actions and learning from them far more than from simply the words we say.