Unconditional Love

     Sometimes when I get so wound up with my own problems such as insomnia, I lose track of the important things that are happening all around me. As I was sitting here feeling sorry for myself, Stevie Nicks showed up at my feet. 

     After I greeted her, she jumped onto my lap and began rubbing against me, almost like she was telling me that everything was going to be OK. Her purring soothed me and I managed to get the following picture where her expression is one of Unconditional Love. 

     Soon after taking the picture, Stevie Nicks jumped down and wandered off in search of a snack. Her kindness still lingers with me. 

St. Jude’s Hospital

I was prompted by my Journey book about a charity or cause that I believe in. There were many that sprang to mind. Amnesty International is a cause that I truly believe in and support to this day, but I think that the one to convince me to actually support any cause or charity must be St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN.

As I grew up in a small town in Western Kentucky, one of my friends became very sick. I wasn’t sure exactly what was wrong with him, but he seemed to be wasting away before my very eyes. Along with his other friends, we all wondered what was going on, and we wanted to help in any way that we could. As our friend missed more and more school, and went to different hospitals, we eventually heard the word “leukemia” and our hearts sank. Even though we didn’t understand exactly what it meant we could tell by the hushed tones that the adults used that it wasn’t good at all.

Then a day came when I went to visit my friend. I found his family packing their car and I asked where David was. They told me that he had been taken to St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis and that they were going to be with him. Since Memphis was about 300 miles away, it seemed like they were taking him to Mars. I didn’t have the chance to say goodbye before he left, and that broke my heart.

I learned that St. Jude’s never charged David’s family a dime for the treatment he received, nor for their trip to Memphis or the lodging to stay there. AS I grow older, that type of selflessness impresses me more and more.

Sadly, the leukemia in David was too advanced for treatment, and David returned home after a month in Memphis. I was able to spend time with him before he slipped away and that made all the difference in the world.

David was only 18 when he died. Since it was 1983, there was no social media to remember him by. To this day only a few cached old obituary articles remain. I will always respect and support St. Jude’s because of the love and support they gave to David and his famnily all those years ago.

What I Wanted To Be As A Child Growing Up

Growing up,  I wanted to be a professional baseball player because I thought that I was really good at the game. I loved being outdoors and enjoying the warm weather and sunshine. I was a decent pitcher and an average hitter.

As I got older, I realized that other kids were growing stronger and faster than I was. I played through high school and never hit a home run. I was a contact hitter but that made me absolutely mediocre compared to guys that were able to crush the ball. That marked the end of my aspirations to be a professional baseball player.

I thought seriously about becoming a fireman because one of my best friend’s father was a fireman. The normal childhood dreams of riding around town in the big red fire truck were intoxicating. I know that this was a dream of many of the kids I grew up with in a small town. Ironically it was a fire at our house that stopped the desire to be a fireman after seeing all the damage and thinking that I wasn’t cut out to be dealing with that type of stuff on a regular basis.

Because I was born in the 1960s I thought about becoming an astronaut. Once again it was a generational thing that appealed to everyone my age. The intense math and science brought me back to reality and ended that dream.

I thought about becoming an actor for a time. I always enjoyed being the center of attention and I was never shy. My parents weren’t keen on the idea because they wanted me to live in the real world as much as possible. The other thing that killed the desire to act was I never thought of myself as attractive, and I still believe that all cameras are out to embarrass me at all times.

I wanted to be a teacher because I really loved to learn and to share with others. It was later in life when I decided that I wasn’t really cut out to be around children all of the time. I was raised by very progressive parents and was always considered mature for my age. I had a wonderful childhood, but it was not as carefree as some of my friends. I was always taught to think of others and the world around me rather than always just myself. Later in life, I found that teaching adults is something that I am rather goods at.

Now I work with data mining and analysis. I pull patterns and predict future behavior of information for the client. I measure changes and trends. I model data to demonstrate to the client where they should focus their efforts to improve their productivity and responsiveness. I do have the opportunity to train/teach others on my job, and it gives me tremendous pleasure to do so. This is not where I would have predicted that I would end up, but I find that very few people actually do end up in their dream job that they visualized when they were children.

Life is about adapting to change and making the best decisions that you can each and every day. Make the best of what life throws at you and remember that nothing is preordained.