by Bob Hazlett
My name is Jonathan. I’m what you call a ‘spirit.’
I started out as a fictional seagull in an inspirational book. Then the boss decided I should get out from between the book covers and help out when a need for inspiration comes up. I’ve been doing that ever since.
You and I have met before. Do you remember your last revelation, epiphany, bright idea, light bulb, inspiration, vision, ah-ha moment, great idea in the shower? That was me. I do a lot of that. My favorite activity is giving understanding. When the curtain parts and you see the true meaning of something, like you’ve never seen it before, that’s me picking at your brain or your heart.
However, I don’t do miracles. When the boss decides something needs to be fixed, he does the fixing himself.
Most of the time I push here or nudge there on my own. Occasionally, the boss tells me to “Butt Out,” and once in a while he gives me a direct assignment to “Butt In.”
I’m on one of those “Butt In” assignments right now – to make young Torey here aware of his potential. The boss has decided Torey is worthy of a little help. My job is to light the fuse. I’d better get started.
“Torey, wake up!”
Torey was in a deep sleep, still in the afterglow of the great party his wife Viviana threw for him last evening. Friends, neighbors, Torey’s mom and dad, and Vivi’s mom and dad had all come to the house to celebrate Torey’s 30th birthday. It was a grand evening.
“Torey, wake up!” again.
Torey bolted upright in bed. He was drenched in sweat, but the room was cool. Vivi was sleeping comfortably next to him. Torey rubbed his eyes and looked around the room.
“I’m up here. We need to talk”.
Looking toward the ceiling, Torey spotted a faint glowing shape perched in the corner of the very top shelf of the bookcase.
“Who are you and what do we need to talk about?”, moaned Torey, still half asleep, and trying to figure out if he was dreaming.
“Who I am doesn’t matter, and you are not dreaming. We need to talk about you”.
“… about me?”
“Last night you had a party celebrating your thirty years on this planet. So far, you’ve had everything given to you. Raised in a fine family, first-rate education, wonderful wife, two great kids, and a good job. But most of all you have a good mind.”
“Yes. I have been very lucky.”
“That wasn’t luck, Torey. That was preparation.”
“Preparation for what?”
“That’s why I’m here. The boss tells me that you have never once, in thirty years, thought about paying your good fortune forward.”
“Pay it forward … what does that mean … how do I do that? … I work.”
“You work to put groceries on the table. That sustains you and your family; it doesn’t make a contribution.”
“That’s not enough?”
“Do you think the boss meant for you to spend your time living the good life without earning it, and for some other poor soul to spend his life in misery without deserving it?”
“Does that mean I’m my brother’s keeper?”
“Maybe, maybe not. But it does mean that those who are given gifts are expected to do good things with them – not just sit on them. Do something that will make a thousand people stand up and cheer one hundred years after you’re dead”.
“What! Who’s ever done that?”
“Shame on you Torey. Just think for a minute:
Thomas Jefferson did it with one paragraph.
Beethoven did it with nine symphonies.
Galileo did it with a telescope.
Christopher Columbus did it with a boat.
Rembrandt did it with a paint brush.
John Glenn did it sitting on a rocket.
William Shakespeare did it with plays.
Socrates did it with words.
Rosa Parks did it by just sitting still.”
“But they were all great people.”
“Greatness was the result, not the cause. They all started no better than you. When the time came, they stepped up.”
“What should I do?”
“I don’t know that. But there will be a challenge, somewhere, sometime. It will be your choice to pick it up or walk by.”
“Torey, wake up! Torey, wake up! You’ve been dreaming”, said Vivi, shaking Torey, vigorously.
“Really?”, groaned Torey.
“Was it the monster under the bed?”
“Not exactly. Well maybe, he sure scared the hell out of me.”