Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Turning Points

I had an idea that I was going to write a book, and I knew what I was going to write and what I wanted to say. That has all changed. There are people in our lives, who are role models, and there are those people we respect, then there are people who make incredible impressions on us, that in retrospect you did not know they had, until they are gone.

Such is the way tonight, as ABC news paid tribute to “Peter Jennings, Reporter.” You may not know him personally, and you might just “watch” the news to fill air time over dinner. That was not the case in my life. News became important when I was in High School, with would be the late 1980’s.

The dinner hour was the only time that détente would be observed in our very dysfunctional home. The World News Tonight telecast was a nightly event in our home. I could escape my world and learn about the big wide world “out there.” And Peter Jennings had become a fixture in our home. He became a father figure, whom I grew to respect, to trust and during 9-11, had an opportunity to communicate with.

Watching the 2 hour presentation tonight was an incredible review of the stories that formed my early life as a teenager, and how important those reports were to who I would become. This, my first work of real life story telling must have a point. I must try to tell you the truth and give you something that I hope you can take with you into your lives and your families, and to share with those you love and care about.

I know how much Peter impacted me as a young man, and I know how he helped me through many sleepless nights when we thought the world was collapsing around us. As a gay man not having an active father figure in my life, I tried to find people whom I thought I could learn something from, to listen to and to trust. There are just certain people in this world who have the ability to speak, and to make a difference in the lives of those they speak to. Peter Jennings was one of those people. I have listened to many teachers in my life and I have heard it said that when the student is ready the teacher appears, and I find that the greatest teachers in my life are people that I have never met personally.

I did not expect that Peter’s passing would affect me in the depth that it has. The focus of what I wish to share with you has changed. There is more to life than giving one directions and opinions, but I feel that if I told you stories about what I have seen, and what I have experienced, that might help you find a path, not unlike my own, that will help you live and live greatly.

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