As I complete my 61st lap around the sun, I reflect on how I got to this point. It is funny how we recall the good and the bad sort of fades away. What a blessing.

This past year has been challenging to say the least.  As I look back on 2020 my first impression is how tough things were, the quarantine, the lack of products on the store shelves, the disruption of our routine daily lives.  When I hear someone say that 2020 was the toughest year, I must disagree.  I saw the positive side where we had a comfortable home, my family’s jobs were good to us in that we were able to continue to work at home.  Our faith in God kept us at an even keel. We were able to worship with our church virtually.  Most importantly, no one in our family which includes our extended family was affected by the virus.  To us, 2017 was a much more challenging year as we recovered from losing most everything from the Harvey flood. In all things, we are grateful.

This past year I retired from operating live sound at church.  I started volunteering as sound operator 50 years ago when I was 11 years old.  Back in 1970 our church installed a new thing which was a live sound system.  No one at the time knew how to operate it so I stepped up anxious to learn how.  Over those 50 years I operated sound in many different churches for Sunday Services, Revivals and countless seasonal musicals.  I mixed a lot of singers and bands, some of whom you would recognize as famous.  There were countless Pastors, Evangelists and Missionaries I help voice lift so they could get their message across.  Many of them have since gone on to Glory.  I strived to operate the audio boards as a support and making sure it was not a distraction, sometimes I failed but pressed on learning along the way.  One time I was asked about running sound as a volunteer for churches and I responded that it was a thankless job but a huge blessing if you are doing it for the Glory of God.  For the last ten years or so my hearing slowly degraded as ringing in my ears increased, I did not tell anyone of how difficult running sound was becoming.  I prayed that God would use my hands to operate the board.  This last Christmas I operated the sound board with only one good ear.  I was suffering from total loss of hearing in my right ear due to a virus I had at the time.   So as digital technology was progressing and my analog understanding grew further apart, I prayed as I searched for the right time to step down and let younger people step up to volunteer.  August 23, 2020 was my last time I hung up my headphones.  It was a bittersweet time for me, but I knew it was my time to step down.

Here are a few things I strive to live by; listen more, talk less. When walking away from a conversation I learn more when I had listened. We all have stories to tell of our experiences, I do better writing about mine than verbally presenting them. Treat everyone like they are the most important person. We are all different, we are as unique as our fingerprints. Be happy with everything we have; it can be gone in a moment. I learned that the hard way three years ago.

Show respect to everyone. I try to take time to talk with the janitorial help and let them know what a good job they are doing, hold the door for them and let them know they are important. Many years ago, a guy named Chris from Guatemala, who was a janitor, asked me why I take time to talk with him when most everyone else looks away. I told him he was probably the most important person working here. When someone from management is out for several days, few people notice. If a janitor is out and the bathrooms are not cleaned or trash not picked up, everyone notices. One day as I was leaving the building where I now work, one of the janitorial staff stopped what she was doing to hold the door for me. It made my day that she showed me respect that I strive to show them. We may not speak the same language, but the smile is universal.
Some other highlights through my life are; when Jennifer said, “I do”. When I first held my son Will, I felt like I was holding the future. Moments after Allison was born, her eyes were open so wide, and I said, “Hello Allison” she turned to looked at me. The nurse cleaning her said that she never gets tired of seeing that. Newborns recognize the voices they heard from the womb. The trips we took as a family. My endless car projects. The many pets I have had over the years. Someone asked which pet was my favorite, I responded, “…the one I am with”

I can sum up my life with one word, “Grateful”. I am grateful for the Love of God though Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the love of my family. I am grateful for my job. I am grateful for every new day I wake up with the breath of life. I am grateful for my dog. I am grateful for still being able to physically work on my car projects, even though it gets tougher over time. I am grateful for my country and pray we remain a free people. I know it is all in God’s hands as time presses on.  In all things, I am grateful.

Now on to the 62nd lap around the sun!