Today I shared a photo from Cowboy Ethics FaceBook page that struck a cord with me and I wrote something that is true to what I believe.
“I may not have the opportunity to do this everyday, but when I do, I make it count! One thing in my life I regret is not actually going with my heart, instead I went with the money and spent the rest of my life working to get back to my heart!”
What I said had a couple meanings, one was that I often try to stand up and help out those less fortunate whenever I see someone in need. Last year I was in the checkout line at the Wal-Mart store that I shop at and an elderly African American woman was in front of me and had a few items in her cart for Thanksgiving dinner. Now I could not tell if she was fixing dinner for herself or if she had someone visiting that she was going to cook for, but she was checking the prices for each item she put on the belt. She got down to three items that she said she could not afford and so I told the checker to ring it up and I would pay for it. She pleaded with me and said, “No, it is ok, I really don’t need those.” But I replied to her that if she had it in her cart, that she evidently had a use for them. Well, she was beside herself thanking me and I gave her a big hug and told her that I hoped she had a very happy Thanksgiving and we went on our way. I have not seen her since, but I can tell you, it made me feel very good to be able to help someone out who had lived a long life and didn’t need to walk away from a checkout without things she needed.
Now, let me be clear, I am not looking for people to say how good a person I am, or how it was so nice I did that because, in my mind, this is something all of us should do every time we see someone who might not have enough money to enjoy a holiday, or even eat something that they want to eat on a daily bases. We all should strive to help out someone in need without anyone asking us to help. It is how I was brought up and it is how I live my life.
The other part of what I wrote, ” One thing in my life I regret is not actually going with my heart, instead I went with the money and spent the rest of my life working to get back to my heart!,” was because I was one of the people who left my home to travel and work and look for the big deal in life that would make me rich.
Did I find it? Well, I am living, I have a roof over my head, food on my table, but am I happy where I am? No! While many have moved on from our childhood homes, I have pined for the day that I can return, with all I have learned and experienced, to help out the folks where I grew up. Now I am not saying that I want to “Bring sunlight to the wilderness” as some have stated. They are only in it because they want more money, prestige and power. What I would love to do, is be closer to family, lifelong friends and be able to help out a community that raised me. I don’t want to bring huge manufacturing back, I don’t want to bring back ideas from another part of the country. What I would love to do is bring back a simple life and possibly help some folks along the way.
I have thought of many ideas, talked to some folks and have even put some ideas out there that if they work, could help out. Right now, of course I am still planning, and trying to think of ways I can help, because without that little area in West Virginia, I would not be the man I am today and if I can help give back just a little bit of what I was given when I was growing up, it would only amount to a small fraction. Thank you Sistersville, for helping to make me who I am.
I guess what I am saying is, most of us leave with our eyes on making it big, on making money, owning land and that is fine, but I think that if we thought just for a minute as to where we grew up and some of the struggles people face, giving back is not such a bad idea. As a matter of fact, giving back every day to those less fortunate does more than any of us could imagine.
I always think of one person that I grew up with who did more for others than anyone I know. Kevin Ritchey, was that man. We grew up together, played sports together and when we graduated high school, Kevin decided that he wanted to help others. He joined the volunteer fire department and was also a member of the EMT. Once he had a few years in, he decided to move to another community where he worked as an EMT and one icy night while on a call, he gave the ultimate sacrifice when he died trying to help others. Kevin will always be a hero to me, always be someone I would strive to be like. He has been missed, but what he did for others will live on.
Remember your heart, where you came from and where you go. There are always people in your past that got you to where you are.
So, I guess in all of this, my one thing that I wanted to say is, “Stand Up for Something or Someone Everyday!”