Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The People We Meet

My friend Jim passed away last week. He hired me in 1978 as editor for his newspaper in suburban Houston, Texas, and my three years there proved pivotal for my career. Jim was a hard-working, multi-faceted individual whose exploits ranged from Marine pilot to director of photography for National Geographic to entrepreneur.

I learned much from Jim about newspapering, photojournalism, business and perseverance, and I’m a different person for having known him. Thankfully, I was able to talk with him by phone a week before he died and again express appreciation for his impact on my life.

Someone has suggested that years from now we’ll be the same except for the books we read and the people we meet. (Another person has added “the food we eat” – but that’s fodder for another blog.) We don’t read books as we once did – thanks to the Internet, cable TV and myriad other forms of communication. However, the idea that our lives are greatly influenced by the people who cross our paths still holds true.

Throughout our tenure on earth, dozens – perhaps even hundreds – of people leave their imprint on our lives. I can think of family members, teachers, friends, pastors, bosses and coworkers that each have touched my life in unique, invaluable ways. They have helped in molding and shaping me into the person I have become.

Ultimately, I believe this is the measure of our lives – our legacy. It’s not about the money we earn, stuff we collect, titles we hold, or awards we win. It’s about making a difference. Even if we can influence just one life in a positive way, our own lives have significance and meaning.

Proverbs 27:17 tells us, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Whose life is better today because of knowing you?

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