Speaking as someone whom has witnessed (not necessarily practiced) this first hand, I just had to share it.
The news cycles have pushed so many celebrity deaths as major headlines in the past few years. Nostalgia sends ratings through the roof. A lot of content is old content, reproduced. If it works, why fix it? The nostalgia of a hit song or the memory of one of your favorite movies growing up makes these celebrity deaths hit closer to home than any other stranger’s demise. Celebrities are marketed so well that they often seem larger than life. Due to the advancement of technology, an artist’s ability to touch such a large volume of people with their art is unmatched in all of history. Often, their art is the link that two people have to identify common ground.
Then you meet someone like Chuck Hermann. Assistant Fire Chief, Rochester, MN. Everyone that knew him thought the world of him. He was funny, fun, crazy, intelligent, Godly, consistent, loving and spontaneous. He pulled you out of whatever place you were and brought you to him. Any time you spent with him was an experience you didn’t soon forget. The stories, the jokes and often the calamity of a day with Chuck made everyone better. Things may go wrong, but they can be fixed and you’re definitely going to have fun doing it. Chuck was indeed larger than life.
Or someone like Gladys Mulholland. You don’t have to be outgoing to be larger than life. You don’t have to be loud to influence other people. Gladys was a board-gaming trash talker that was more faithful than the geyser at Yellowstone National Park. She listened vehemently. She enjoyed thoroughly. She prayed faithfully. She was a woman of taste. Her beauty oozed from the windows and doors of her beautiful home and she blessed her community with the prettiest lawn and most magnificent flower gardens. She worshipped God on her concrete patio and with her dirty gardening hands. You were just simply blessed to know her. Gladys was larger than life.
So I’ve put two and two together and come up with an outline of sorts. I’m an imperfect man that wants the best for everyone.
You are more than a career or a familial status. Define yourself with your passions. God didn’t give you gifts to keep to yourself, use them to influence the world around you. Aim your passion at something productive and just watch a masterpiece unfold. (And remember, masterpieces have many layers of paint under the final product)
Embrace and harness emotion.
Feel. Don’t be afraid of what your heart is telling you. Don’t let what you feel make your decisions, but don’t make decisions without considering how you feel. Emotion is the color to your painting. Some things need to be black and white, but what is a masterpiece without its color?
Live so passionately that you inspire others. Identify what you stand for and do not cease forward progress. Don’t be afraid of what others might think, just ensure you are always seeking the one truth.
Search consistently for your strengths and share them. Life is not linear. You have the ability to set yourself up for connection success. Good habits are not your enemy, routines are. Do not fall into a rut, be purposeful about what you want to accomplish without boundaries. Apply that purpose to all things, tangible, relational and spiritual.
Leave a legacy.
Our lives touch people, it’s inevitable. Who we are will remain here after we are gone. We don’t need our names in stone, we don’t need heirs and those larger than life don’t need history books. In a world full of people doing it wrong, it’s obvious we’ll all make mistakes. Letting those mistakes define us or change our trajectory is the fatal flaw.
Be passionate and keep going.