Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Where do you get your inspiration?

I’m a moocher. Every so often, I run into opportunities to take something valuable from unsuspecting people. Lest you think I’m some kind of predator, it’s not like I’m actively looking for it. Rather, the chance just presents itself and I take advantage. Besides, folks seem not to realize I get it from them. If I don’t tell and they don’t miss it, why feel guilty? Think about it: if somebody’s putting something that precious out there, it’s not like you’re stealing, right?
Strangers are my main source. I guess I just cross paths with them more. Last winter I got some from this fellow I see occasionally riding in his power chair along North Avenue. That particular day the roads were a slushy mess. The guy didn’t even see me coming. He was too focused on weathering the elements and minding the cars he was forced to ride on the street with; the sidewalks weren’t plowed. It was easy pickings.
I also tap people I’m close to, and as often as not the opportunity comes when I least expect it. One time it happened while mountain biking with a friend. I was out ahead on the trail when I heard her cry out. I doubled back and found her laid out, her bike mangled against a tree. She was banged up and couldn’t ride but was determined to walk out under her own power. It was about a mile back to the trailhead where our vehicles were, so she didn’t notice what I got from her as she painfully limped along. I ‘fessed up later though. She took it well.
A lot of the best opportunities to obtain this treasure are from people I work with. Every now and then I get caught though. I think the look on my face gives me away. But they never do anything, mostly because they don’t believe I’m taking what I’m taking. Most can’t for the life of them figure out why I targeted them, of all people. They often find it hard to accept the value I see in what I get and that’s a shame.
The really interesting thing is I’m not the only one doing the taking. If you talk to others like me, they’ll agree it’s one of the most important things you can get from someone. So what is this thing, this force that people often don’t even know they have to give to others? It’s the gift of inspiration.
Some people get inspiration from famous individuals like movie stars, race car drivers and super models. Others get it from people who do earth-shaking things like the President, or have millions of dollars like The Donald. Still others draw inspiration from people who can sink a basket, hit a ball or complete a pass.
Me, I get my inspiration from regular persons. Time and again I witness these ‘ordinary’ people facing extraordinary challenges. For instance, I have a friend who by herself raised a child, put her through college and remained independent and dignified throughout. She also is a dependable source of strength and wisdom to her extended family and a leader in her career field.
When I think about all she’s done, it instills me with the fortitude to push through my own daily challenges. Watching that brave guy tooling down the street in the power chair motivates me to face my worries more boldly. Witnessing my friend march bloody but unbowed from the woods under her own power reinforces my own sense of determination.
Where do you get your inspiration?

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