Influence May 25, 2024

Fathers Day
age of men


Sometimes in our lives, we finish something, some task, some event, some season of our lives and never think about it. Do we have influence in people’s lives?
Sometimes we don’t even know we are doing it until we lift up our head and take a breath.  It’s sometimes a targeted goal and we get there. Sometimes, we don’t even know we’re doing it until its done.

     We all do it….

 All of us do it, go through many many of these. We get a chance to influence people’s lives, and if we are lucky while we do it, we get to see it, maybe even see we are changing lives for the better—maybe not.
Influence works both ways. We can be great influencers, for all the wrong reasons. Or even just part of the wrong reasons. Hitler is a great example of one end of the influence spectrum. My Algebra teacher in high school, who has dementia now, is at the apex of the other end.
To steal the words to a song, ‘nobody is nobody.’
The good news is if you live long enough—not like dragon-wrinkled old, but in that wise spectrum, you get to look back and find out where the plan actually worked and what it produced. Everything, and I mean everything we walk through influences our character. And the closer we slide to the other end of life’s teeter-totter; we can look back and see it.

     The Dragon taps our shoulders

Sometimes, we can’t see it because the stuff we wander in distracts us and keeps us busy. If you wake up tomorrow between 2:16 and 2:37 in the morning, text me, I will be starting my list, which for the last ten months has been playing there. That Satan bastard starts tapping on my shoulder with the list.
“What are you going to do about this, or that? But if you do this, you can’t do that and isn’t that due before this? What about that other thing and did you put your computer back in the bag? I don’t think you did, you better check it and oh—do the dogs have water?”

     We still have it

But still we have influence. People watch us—you—me. They want to see how we will do on that teeter-totter.
I have written about this before, but maybe I have slid a little farther towards the end of that totter. The hands of wise people indicate a warrior heart. A heart and spirit of a life, sometimes well-lived, sometimes not, but neither of those two choices filled the spectrum. All of us have had our hoofs in each.
We wander back and forth, lingering sometimes in one or the other. Eventually, we find ourselves starting to look back over our shoulder at the wake we are leaving. If we have time, if life has given us the gift of time, we still can adjust our course-our influence. If we have air in our lungs, we have time to change. I have seen people on their death bed influence others. That change might not be as scary as we think- if we dare to trust-blindly sometimes. Most of the time, it us just a minor course change.
“Mr. Haskins!”
“Bring us three points to starboard. Steady as she goes.”
“Three points to starboard, Aye Sah! We engagin’ Sah?”
Always with a deep breath, a slow nod of the head, and a smile when the Captain of the Course is asked this question- “I believe we are. Bowswain, beat us to quarters.”
Go out today and remind yourself you don’t take a step on this planet and not influence someone. Now, go. Take it three points to starboard.
About Mark Williams
ark Williams spent the first twenty-one years of his career as a Special Agent for the Organized Crime Division of the State Attorney General’s Office. As part of his duties, he investigated organized crime, homicides, and fraud cases submitted by other agencies to that office. He has traveled across the United States as an instructor for law enforcement in various capacities. After he retired, he became a high school English teacher at an inner-city school in central Phoenix where he is the fourth generation in his family to live in the valley. Mark was married for almost thirty-eight years and is a retired widower. He has three children and ten grandchildren. You can read more about the author here.

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