My personality is such that I’m comfortable spending blocks of time alone. That’s one of the benefits of hauling freight for a living. You see, a bus driver’s freight can talk back to him, but that’s another topic.
I have, occasionally, had passengers in the truck with me while making my deliveries. There’s generally three reasons I can think of for this: 1) to take someone to/from the garage for a repair issue; 2) to have someone to help unload; or 3) to train someone on how to drive a truck. All three have parallels in the field of writing and in life.
The first example is taking someone on a general ride to simply get them to a destination. That’s the entertainment part of writing. This is best accomplished using fiction; people often read as a means of escaping into some place other than their own world. They often don’t much care where the destination takes them as long as they can be transported to a different life for a time. If they’re sure the story will have a happy ending all the better. That’s why they’ll quickly buy another book by an author they enjoyed previously.
The next case involves bringing someone along to help with the freight. This is the phase of fiction writing I’m at now. I’ve been told that I’m a good story-teller, but my writing needs some fine tuning. I can get such assistance from reading books that successful writers have written about the craft as one option. Critique groups are an opportunity I wish my schedule allowed more time for. There are people I could pay to aid me along, but God hasn’t exactly gifted me in the financial arena, yet.
Training others is something I’ve enjoyed doing in a truck. My writing opportunities for this are quite a ways down the highway at this time. But, I hope to be able to help others in their dream of being published in the future. I have a friend who wants to start a blog of his own. He has come to me for advice and encouragement. So far he has written some posts, but he can’t quite pull the trigger and hit the ‘publish’ button. He will… even if I have to come to his house and hit the button myself (take a hint Steve)!
Everybody has passengers in life, these are the people we share life with. Be they co-workers, friends, spouse, children, parents, or siblings our live rubs off on them in some capacity. A positive influence is what we all long for; most of the time is what we usually have to settle for. I know I’ve noticed my bad attitude days bringing others down around me (those are the times I wish I could spend the whole day alone in my truck).
We’re all fellow travelers in this road known as life. I pray that we all want to be someone worth journeying with. I know you can think of your best influencers in your own life right now; hopefully a parent, perhaps a teacher or a coach, maybe a best-friend… whoever it was (or is) do your best to emulate them. Laughter goes a long way in brightening another’s day. A smile comes in a close second. A word of encouragement can change the course of a life in a moment.
I remember a sermon illustration I heard on the radio once. I believe it was when Abraham Lincoln was choosing his staff after he was elected President. An applicant had just finished the interview process. Whoever was assisting thought she was extremely qualified for the post. Abe over-ruled his decision based on the look of the person. “I believe that a person is responsible for the expression on their face by the time they’re 40.” He explained. I heard that as a teenager and kept that lesson in mind throughout my life.
I had to pick up some freight at a nut house (no, really, it was a pallet of some burlap bags full of some kind of roasted nuts), anyway, as I was entering the office to get the paperwork the receptionist was hanging up the phone. She turned to her co-worker and told her that their boss had told her not to wish people a ‘good day’ over the phone. I interjected that I guess that if somebody is having a lousy day you’re not supposed to try to bring them out of it. She turned to me and said that I looked like somebody who liked to laugh a lot. I took that as an extremely nice complement. You see how you can bring sunshine into another’s day by just a comment. That was the only time I’ve been there, I don’t know if she remembers it, but I obviously never forgot it.
Most people naturally want to follow, few are comfortable in the lead. That’s why sports teams are so popular, we can blend into a group and belong; and if the team is winning, all the better. Negative people tend to gravitate to other like-minded individuals. Please try to be the opposite influence in life; a lot of people want to be positive but they’re too uncomfortable out of their comfort zone. A consistent influence in their life could be the ticket they’re looking for to break out of their rut.
I think the Apostle John is a good example of someone who changed by being around a positive influence. Remember the title given to him and his brother James? “The Sons of Thunder”; I don’t know if this meant that they were loud and raucous, or their parents were, but, read the epistle of 1 John to see if that title fits the message there. The main theme is proving that you love God by showing love to others (perhaps that’s a title for a new book: “Thunder Love”). Do you see how developing a relationship with Jesus can change anyone? If your goal is becoming more like Jesus, you’ll get there.
I’ll see you later. Wade