Blessed beyond words,truth is like a bird
with a broken wing,
it cannot fly
but can surely sing
this song calls to me,
the inner voice
of muse speaks, stitching together
fractured moments of my life
and giving each of them worth
these words bubble up gently
from a place, cool and
deep inside of us all
that is immortal and wise,
their warmth and their light
wash over me to cleanse my
soul and remind me that
in a world that reeks of harshness
we are never fools to be kind
all who seek solace will one day find,
a reason to keep smiling
in spite of the world
and all its ways of beguiling
to notice it once will make it true,
we are blessed beyond words.
~Eric Vance Walton~
I was five years old and panic stricken. I was away from my parents for the first time, laying on a hospital gurney in some cold and sterile holding area waiting for my turn in the operating room. Through my tear filled eyes I noticed I wasn’t alone, there was a man lying there on a gurney beside of me. He resembled a young Cat Stevens. This man reached through the bars of his bed to pat my hand as he asked me what my name was. He told me his name, of which I forget, and shared that he was a poet. He asked if he could recite some of his poems to me. A great sense of peace washed over me the moment he began reciting his poetry.
This small act of kindness calmed my racing heart and made everything feel as if it was going to be okay. It was the first time I realized the true power of words. This kind soul gave me only five minutes of his time but these five minutes were immensely valuable to me. So valuable, that the lesson has survived inside of me for almost forty years. Small deeds can have a huge impact, they can transform lives. and create lasting change. Could this experience be partially responsible for my becoming a writer and poet? Maybe or maybe not. It’s interesting to think about.
I have many other examples in my life that I can share. There was Mrs. Bohl, who could have made me repeat kindergarten for being out sick so many days but she didn’t. Mr. Morgan, my seventh grade teacher who took an extremely skinny, shy, and awkward pre-teen boy and over the course of the school year transformed him into a much more confident young man.
There was also that one boy in the group of twelve who chased me down for blocks in our inner city neighborhood that dark Friday night in the mid-80’s with every intention of beating me up and/or robbing me. I had been in enough of these situations to understand what the outcome would be if they caught me and they were gaining on me fast. I ran through all of the options in my head and chose the only one I had left, I stopped under a streetlight, turned to face them, and plunged my hand inside my jacket as if I had a gun. The group stopped instantly. Suddenly this boy said to the others in his group, “Wait, I know him! It’s cool, he goes to our school.”He didn’t have to say anything, but he did. A few of them paced, high on adrenaline and testosterone, itching to take part in a beat down.
More recently, as my writing career has started to go global, I’ve had the good fortune of having many virtual mentors. The largest, by far, has been James Altucher. I’ve devoured his podcasts and blog posts and feel as though his guidance alone is responsible for most of the growth in my writing career this past year. There’s also Maja Gray, Joan Holman, and many more people that I’ve met through the Choose Yourself Facebook group who give so freely of their time and their ideas even though they’re busy themselves.
Add my loyal readers to this list, my true fans, people like Ulrika and Cecilia Fjellborg, Annie Rider, Bobby Leigh, Anthony Smith, Jeanne White, Charles Bond, Claudia Tucker and the list goes on and on. These folks have been with me from nearly the beginning of my social media presence. They enthusiastically purchase my books, they like and share my social media posts. Some even geek out on the fictional characters in my novel (I LOVE this.) I feel like they are an army rooting me on, they make me continue to march on when I feel like I’m up to my knees in mud. They make me believe in myself through the countless struggles of this profession.
Each of us are presented with opportunities. I call them Angelic moments. These are brief points in time in which we make a difference or not. We can step outside of our comfort zone or not. We can risk being ostracized by the herd by voicing an unpopular opinion that we truly believe in or not. We can have the patience to lend an ear and offer words of support or not. It takes a certain kind of courage and isn’t always comfortable. The choice is up to us and the beauty is each moment presents us with new opportunities to test our wings.
We simply can’t help everyone but if you feel a strong urge to do or say something in a given moment, take heed. If you feel something tugging at your heart, pay very close attention to it. Act, don’t over think. Act. It could make all the difference.
The truth is Angels are more common than we think. They walk among us. Sometimes they’re dressed to the nines and other times they wear filthy clothes. Sometimes they offer sweet words of praise, sometimes they swear at us like sailors. Yes, sometimes the angel is even walking in your shoes.
~Eric Vance Walton~