My message today couldn’t be more timely.
I want to tell you about my dear friend Buck, who was a true American hero. He was our next door neighbor for 23 years, and passed away last week.
Our entire neighborhood is feeling the loss.
He made it his job to know everyone who lived here, and made them his friends. Not in a creepy way, but in the way that made you feel lucky to be included.
Buck had a lot of C’s (circumstances) in his life. He grew up in foster care, at least five different homes that I know of. He joined the military at age 15 (ya, he lied about his age 🙂 so that he would have a place to call home. He served two tours in Vietnam, earned one silver star, two bronze stars, and THREE purple hearts.
And was also exposed to agent orange.
Buck lived his life full out. He built his own hugely successful business, had all the toys from Harleys and Corvettes to boats, trailers and four wheelers.
He was the host and life of the party and everyone was welcome.
And he suffered. Due to battle injuries, the bizarre effects of agent orange, diabetes and eventually cancer, he dealt with physical pain without a word of complaint.
Even when he was stumbling around his yard, seeing double and feeling dizzy, he just kept on going. He’d lie down on the grass and take a quick break, and then get back to work on his sprinklers. Nothing kept him down.
Why was he so resilient?
Buck knew the secret of living a successful life, was creating it by keeping a forward focus. He never dwelt on the past.
It’s human nature to want our circumstances to change so that we can feel secure. We want our spouses to act or be a certain way so that we can trust. Or we want other things in their life to change so that we won’t have to worry.
But please hear me when I say this, -it’s the key to everything and it’s the secret that Buck understood.
The ONLY thing we can be certain about, is the way we will choose to think and feel.
Read the last sentence again and let it sink in.
Our circumstances are never guaranteed. There is no way for any one of us to be certain about tomorrow, because as 2020 taught us, anything can (and does) happen.
Our power lies in our ability to create our own peace and happiness, by the way we choose to think.
This is a skill we must develop.
Buck had so many circumstances in his life that could have sent him to his grave in an alcohol or drugged induced fog.
But he never paid those harsh circumstances any attention. He was always thinking ahead to what he would create for himself (and others) next.
He took every opportunity to make a difference in the lives of other people.
He made every child in our neighborhood feel loved and important. He knew their names, their favorite things… and he learned it by talking to them on his front porch every Wednesday, where he hosted “Pop and Chip” day, after school for years and years.
The kids would rush to his home and gather on his front lawn to chat and devour their free chips and soda, and get an “attaboy” from Buck.
He even had a diet coke in his cooler for the moms.❤️
This tradition will end tomorrow as his amazing wife Linda, will host the last one in his honor, following his funeral.
Buck, like each of us, was a creator. Even up to the days before his death, he was making plans to build an even better backyard at his new cabin.
He never stopped looking ahead.
It’s human nature to want to feel safe, each one of our brains are programmed this way, but needing that guarantee holds us back and keeps us stuck.
If we want to be certain about a happy future for ourselves, it’s absolutely possible. But it’s not created by what’s going on around us, rather, it’s created by what’s happening within us.
We can be certain about how we will choose to think about what life brings our way.
There is a blessing to be found in every experience.
My life was touched by our dear friend, Buck. He made the world a better place and we will all be forever grateful that he chose to think the best.