When I was a child I dreamt of many things. At the young age of six, I wanted to be an astronaut and somewhere in my trove of childhood drawings there is a picture of a rocket on a launch pad with my smiling face peering out the capsule window. A man on the moon? Holy begeezus. Neil Armstrong was my hero. I would gaze every month at the full moon and though it was impossible, I strained to see the Apollo spacecraft somewhere up there in the heavens. It was at that young age that I discovered inspiration and more importantly how it would guide me in my later years.
Websters defines it as the “act or power of moving the intellect.” or the act of “influencing or suggesting opinions.”
I was moved by Neil Armstrong. Muhammed Ali. Mickey Mantle. The majority of the time it was athletes that inspired me. They worked hard. If they were great why couldn’t I be great? As I grew older I would dream 27 hours of the day about the Olympics. Running races over and over in my head as I circled our small yard, confined more often than not, for reasons that only a step-father could determine. I discovered that inspiration created dreams and those dreams were in a small room in my head. A room that only I went in and out of. Try and crush a little boys hopes. Try and discourage me. You would not win this battle of wills. I learned at a young age to build a fortress of determination and resilience and tenacity, yet at that age I didn’t even know what those words meant.
I can’t explain what Inspiration means to me only how it feels.
It is a pause in thought when I see the blue sky and an eagle. It is music on a cool, foggy morning on a no-name road in Mississippi. It is my breathing, in rhythm with my footsteps. It is leaves changing and water trickling, snow falling and the silence of a dark night with only the stars to hold my gaze. It is a child waiting with a flag along the road, to young to know about life and death but standing there waiting for me. It is a soldier with scars inside and out and a brain shattered by trauma who waits to shake my hand. It is a name on a flag. Someone from somewhere whose life is over yet who waits invisibly along the road, who holds out a hand and picks me up and passes me on to the next hand. They say I run, that I have run many miles but no, I was carried.
My inspiration is everything around me and it is conclusive in definition for I am moved and influenced. Fear of not doing enough has become my guiding light and in doing more perhaps that act will lift someone else to something larger than themselves…..