I just read a blog here.It made me think of my role models. I grew up as a shy and introverted child, very insecure. I was what was called back then, “chubby” and in the 4th grade began wearing glasses, so I was doubly persecuted. I can’t really remember anyone I looked up to, but I did spend most of my childhood reading comic books. I loved Superman, Supergirl, Batman, Justice League and Wonder Woman. When new ones came out, I’d buy them and read them voraciously. If I had only saved those comic books, I’d be a rich woman today!
In trying to think of those who might have influenced me in some way, it brought about some introspection. All throughout school, I tried to blend into the hallways, never wanting to bring attention to myself. I was the quintessential wallflower and was always watching the popular trying to figure out why they were popular, and what they had that I didn’t. Looking back from the age of 61, I’d have to say they were the beautiful people…but mostly they were the ones with either an outgoing bubbly personality that drew others to their sphere of influence, or were so full of self-confidence that others naturally believed everything they had to say, or both. I’ve never been that type of person.
I met a woman named Roberta in 1980. I took a cake decorating class at her shop. She is one of those kinds of people who can draw you to themselves. She shows a laugh and a smile, and a bubbling personality whether she feels like it or not. She is the kind of people you want to be near because you just know she has something that you have looked for your whole life. She became a boss and evolved into a friend. She will always be a part of my life, even if we don’t stay close.
Then there was Dan. He was the choir director of the church choir I joined back in the 1980’s. He became a hugging buddy, a confidant, an encourager, and later a friend. He always gave of himself and drew people to himself as well. His faith and service to his church was important to him and he strived to live a holy life while fighting his inner demons. He affected my life in a very strong way. He died before my 45th birthday.I will never forget him.
Then there was Mila. I went to the local community college and took some voice lessons from her. She encouraged me to sing, and gave me parts in local productions and operas. But what I remember most was that she was the first person I had ever met who would stop what she was doing and say a prayer for you if she felt you needed it. I’ve never forgotten that.
Then I met Shirley and Jim and Fr. T. Shirley was the choir director of the Catholic Church choir I sang in. Jim was the organist and pianist for the choir. Shirley became my friend and later sponsored me when I felt led to join the Catholic Church. When Jim took over the choir director’s position, I took voice lessons from him. He is a very gifted person. Music is a part of his innermost being. He plays the organ, the piano, he composes, he plays jazz, he conducts, he teaches…he does it all with love and the joy of just living in his music. He taught me how to take my personal talent to the highest level possible and became a good friend in the process. Even though I no longer sing in his choir, I remember with fondness all that he gave me and taught me. Father T has been my priest and friend since 1990. He has in turns, encouraged me, helped me, and chastised me when I needed it.
Then there were the Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are a community of Charismatic Nuns who I met in 1990 after I joined the Catholic Church. I was looking for more, wanting to grow more spiritually and learn more, after being a Catholic for almost a year. I visited them often, went on private directed retreats, prayed with them, and met and loved many of them who have influenced me, prayed for me, and loved me over the years. There is Sister Philip, who directed my retreats and counseled me, and Sister Rita who became a friend later. Sr. Rita would check on me by email or phone call every month or so. The community continues to pray for me and my family, influence my thoughts and shows me how to live a holy life in this busy world we live in.
And today…I have a new boss and friend. She is a loving and caring person, a woman with a strong sense of right and wrong, a great sense of humor, and an active faith in God. I have thanked God in the past for her and the opportunity to know her and to work for her. Just writing this blog, I am reminded how much I appreciate her and must pray thanks again for her place in my life.
That brings me to today. In listing all of these people, I realize I have forgotten a few. There is Jerry. I have known him since 1980. He is a giant of a man, in many ways. He is very tall, and his personality and joy of life and of giving matches. He is the absolute best hugging buddy ever. He is one of those friends you can call after months of silence and pick up where you left off last time.
And then there is my husband. He has lived with me for almost 41 years. He has loved me and encouraged me in whatever I have wanted to do,and stayed with me through times of craziness and depression. I’ve considered him a saint for years. Then there is my son. He is a prayerful man, and my prayer buddy when I call on him. He is a husband and a father of 4. He has learned that family is one of the most important things in life, and has grown into a man I marvel at because he did it despite the influence, or lack of influence from a mother with problems in his early years. And lastly, there is my daughter who is dear to me. She is very active in our lives, and helps drive me to work and to the doctor. I have enjoyed getting to know her as an adult, sharing time and the enjoyment of writing with her.
These people were a gift to me. They have shared of themselves and influenced me in ways both good and bad, and happy and sad. They are what have helped to shape me into who and what I am today. They have made me rich.