Wordsmith and podcaster, Warren is a reporter, editor and storyteller who lives near the shores of Green Bay with two golden retrievers, Dejah and Summer, and Blackberry, an insistent cat. Author of It's Going to Be All Right, Echoes of Freedom Past, Full, Refuse to be Afraid, Gladness is Infectious, 24 flashes, How to Play a Blue Guitar, Myke Phoenix: The Complete Novelettes, A Bridge at Crossroads, The Imaginary Bomb, A Scream of Consciousness, and The Imaginary Revolution.
Crossroads at Big Creek is a nature preserve in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, that I would visit on lunch breaks when I worked there. A couple of weeks after being evicted from my dream job (“This is an economic decision, not a performance decision”), I sat on a bench near this bridge and wrote these words.)
When you are sad – for there will come a time when you are sad – remember a time you were so happy you wished this moment would last forever – because it does last forever as long as you remember.
When you are afraid – for there will come a time when you are afraid – remember a time when you felt so safe and comfortable you knew nothing could shake your world.
When you are lost – for there will come a time when you are lost – remember a time when you found a place you never thought you’d reach and surprised yourself that you had it in you.
The lasting markers in our lives are the moments of clarity, not confusion; joy, not despair; learning, not loss.
In my opinion, we are in danger of developing a cult of the Common Man, which means a cult of mediocrity. But there is at least one hopeful sign: I have never been able to find out just who this Common Man is. In fact, most Americans — especially women — will get mad and fight if you try calling them common.
This is hopeful because it shows that most people are holding fast to an essential fact in American life. We believe in equal opportunity for all, but we know that this includes the opportunity to rise to leadership. In other words — to be uncommon!
Let us remember that the great human advances have not been brought about by mediocre men and women. They were brought about by distinctly uncommon people with vital sparks of leadership. Many great leaders were of humble origin, but that alone was not their greatness.
It is a curious fact that when you get sick, you want an uncommon doctor; if your car breaks down, you want an uncommonly good mechanic; when we get into war, we want dreadfully and uncommon admiral and an uncommon general.
I have never met a father and mother who did not want their children to grow up to be uncommon men and women. May it always be so. For the future of America rests not in mediocrity, but in the constant renewal of leadership in every phase of our national life.
On the day after Thanksgiving, I am still grateful for being able to share my life with a woman who will cook a huge turkey dinner with all the trimmings and, unable to serve everyone together due to circumstances, packs the food into containers and drives an hour to deliver the meals.
Of course, I am grateful to be able to share my life with the two slightly daft animals in this photo, who provide daily delight and occasional frustration. (The patio door in the background is the portal for comings and goings most engaged of all in the house.)
In this age of viral paranoia, I am grateful for my health that has given me nearly 68 years of life despite my constant neglect (Yes, doc, I know I need to exercise more …) and for family despite the distance between us.
I am very thankful that our refrigerator has the inevitable leftovers from the above-mentioned meal, and I probably will take a peek inside right after posting this post.
On the day after Thanksgiving, in short, I am mindful of all the reasons why every day — not one day a year — is an opportunity to reflect on all we have to be thankful for.