I was completely ready to post an inspirational piece about a friend of mine and how she would have loved Taylor Hicks if she was still alive, and may save the story for later on. But, as this was “my week” to write an inspirational story, the story about Debbie just didn’t seem to fit. My mind keeps going back to Virginia Polytechnic University and the horrible tragedy that has befallen not just on that campus, but on everyone.
First of all, on behalf of all seven of the Taylor’s Angels, I would like to offer our condolences for the victims and their families. I would also like to offer condolences for the rest of the world. For what happened this week in Blacksburg, Virginia didn’t end at the University. It touches families and friends all over the world. It affects us all.
All day today and yesterday, I kept hearing people ask, “What would make someone do something like that? Who IS this person who could so callously shoot innocent people?” All over the news, the media, students, teachers, neighbors are trying to decipher and analyze the young shooter to try to make some sort of sense out of all of this. Then I realized, these questions have come about too late. It’s time we all ask ourselves “What type of inspiration did I give to people today?”
Webster’s defines “inspiration” as:
1. an inspiring or animating action or influence;
2. something inspired, as an idea.
3. a result of inspired activity
4. a thing or person that inspires
5. the act of inspiring; quality or state of being inspired
After really, really thinking about this word, I have realized that I have been fortunate to have some wonderful and positive influences on my life. Granted, there have been those who have come into my life who have left their mark in a negative way, but I feel I’ve only taken those experiences with me as “lessons learned” rather than having incorporated them into a way of life. My positive influences have gifted me with years of education (thanks, Dad!), a great sense of humor (thanks, Mom!), affection, friendship and a positive outlook on life (thanks to my great friends!).
So, how does Taylor Hicks fit in this, you ask? It was with this base of experience and influence that I was drawn to Taylor. The part of me that was tired of the mundane music created and crammed down our throats today was suddenly kick-started back to life when I first saw him audition. Because of him, I have been “turned on” to new music—Ray LaMontagne and Toby Lightman just to name a couple. From him, I have been inspired to open up my world and reach out to people I’ve never met before. Some people who live even in another country. I’ve been compelled to ask for help and guidance from cyber-friends; I’ve been lead to help others who need it. I’ve dedicated time and attention to people I’ve never met, but I can “see” their smiles and feel their excitement when Taylor’s Angels informs them that their dream is coming true--- that help is on the way. It warms my heart and makes me walk with more purpose and determination. I’ve always felt I had a “meaningful” life, but through the work that I’ve done here, and the friendships that have been made, I’m realizing that my life has even more meaning. I’m touching people in a positive way that I’ll probably never get a chance to meet face to face. And I realize that by making them happy, they will probably go and try to make someone else happy. This is the true meaning of Taying-it-Forward. This is the inspiration that Taylor has given me. He may never know it, and that’s fine. The karma is there and it’s all good.
Then, I thought, “OK, I’ve been inspired in so many good ways, how do I inspire others?” WOW. That thought can be scary—was someone influenced by me when I was in a bad mood (YIKES!); or, have I passed on more positive influences already in my life?
I ask all of you to ask yourselves this for the next few days, especially as an entire University begins to heal—ask yourselves “how did I inspire someone?” Have you ever given a hug to someone just because you thought they looked like they could use one? I have and every time I’ve done it, the response I got was “how’d you know I needed that right now?” Have you praised a child lately for something as simple as being able to count to 10? The smile you will get back is worth a dozen “I love you’s”. I promise.
I ask each of you to please take the next few days to realize that YOU are an inspiration to others. Will you abuse or use that gift? Perhaps if more of us were to USE that gift, there would be fewer tragedies in the world. Perhaps if we hugged and praised people more, then there would be less anger in the world. It certainly can’t hurt to try.
The inspiration from Taylor’s music will always be there, but the inspiration from Taylor reaches beyond the notes and the lyrics. I am proud of the many, many people who have generously reached out to someone through their gifts. I am gifted back when a recipient thanks us profusely and lets us know just how positively we have changed their life, even if for a few moments.
Written by: Leslie (Lmo4taylor1)
Tags: Taylor Hicks, American Idol, Soul Patrol, Taylor's Angels