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Who Inspires Us to Truly Live


There are some things in life that make us feel alive and some things that inspire us to truly live. What I mean is, I sometimes go in search of things that will make my heart race and my senses heightened. They might involve behaviors like downhill skiing or rock climbing or asking a girl to dance. The first two I haven’t done in quite a while and the last one, well I just signed up for tango lessons with my fiancee. I also used to wait to the last minute to get things done so I could use the added stress to sharpen my focus. Actually I may still do this though it feels much less like being alive as I get older. I have also found people that inspire me to truly live. Often it is through witnessing their generosity that inspires me most.


The first person who comes to mind, aside from my parents, was my first basketball coach. His name was Mr. Pangrazzi. He also was my fourth grade teacher. He was the first teacher who really got me. Somehow saw the potential that was lurking inside me and helped me to see the future. As a basketball coach he was enthusiastic and giving. In my sixth grade season he personally bought new uniforms for our team. We looked like a team and started to play like one too. In practice he gave us all nicknames inspired by our favorite pro basketball players. I was Magic Tahtinen. He brought us to a college game and treated our team often with pizza. More than anything he got us to believe in ourselves.


A second person who inspired me was the Pastor at the Bible camp I went to every year from third grade, to my third year of being on the staff. HIs name was Pastor Cy. He loved kids and hired counselors and staff that loved kids too. The thing I remember most was that he was a great storyteller. I heard stories from his life and he aways found a way to work God into the meanings of them. I remember crying while listening to a dixieland band as they lowered his body into the ground.


Another person who has inspired me is my, soon to be wife Sharon. She has turned her obstacles including a hearing impairment and a life long battle with Crohn’s disease into a passion for caring after patients as a nurse. One of her best qualities is that she keeps an open mind and loves to listen and try new things. She is most generous with her time and attention not just to me but to all her many friends.


The last example I will give here are the people of the two churches that I serve. They inspire me to keep going when it is tough. I have made many rookie mistakes at both churches and said things in sermons that I wish I hadn’t. They realize that I am human too and are quick to encourage and slow to judge. They have taught me that true generosity is found in using our gifts for the sake of serving others. That is not a feeling of excitement, but a confidence that we are all in this together and with God’s help, we can make it.

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