The recent death of Sargent Shriver gave me pause to think about what inspires me. Beyond cerulean sky and luminous moons and almost anything my children do, it’s the people like Sargent Shriver who live a committed life. Show don’t tell is the golden rule to which us writers aspire.
I’ve been fortunate to have heaping doses of that inspiration. It comes in all types of packages. My very dear friend Paul Gustafson has done the work of angels as a lifelong pediatrician at Geiger Gibson Community Health Center in Boston. Without fanfare, he’s been quietly caring of children for more than three decades. He so inspired me that I borrowed his name for the fictional Dr. Gustafson in October Run as a nod to his dedication.
My friend Paul Kazmercyk just celebrated 25 years with his graphic design business. But that’s not all about Paul K. Along the road of fashioning logos and designing publications of all types, he stepped into a whole different stream. He decided that the unexamined life was not the way to go. He started to write, before blogs were the big deal they are today, about politics. He built a following of those who were hungry for analysis and opinion unfiltered by the popular media. He is also, still, a go-to designer.
Recently, another friend realized his dream of 40 years. Thomas Jackson was ordained as an Episcopal priest. His journey took him from growing up in Groton, MA to college and a career as an award-winning environmental journalist, a highly respected public relations professional, and parent to two daughters. I get to share the daughters since Tom and I were married and raised them together. We divorced and have taken separate roads, but I’m truly amazed that he managed divinity school and ordination as a mid-life career change.
Paul and Paul and Tom and Sargent Shriver and so many others doing the good work every day, remind me that it’s never too early, or too late, to follow a dream. Even the impossible ones.
Who inspires you?