I indicated that there was more to the Ted Williams story last week. The man with a “God
gift voice” actually attended school for voice acting after serving three years in the US army.
He was inspired to become a radio announcer at the age of 14, according to Wikipedia, when he found that a radio announcer he had heard before looked nothing like he sounded.
So regardless of what happened thereafter, we have a first lesson in the fact that this man “knew” what he wanted to do at age 14.
This refers to that defining moment that I have written about before. Being “present” in your life, as the book A New Earth reminds us, will help you to seize the significance of the moment when it presents itself.
We learn that Ted Williams actually then worked as a radio announcer before succumbing to drug and alcohol abuse and becoming homeless.
This makes last week’s insert about his comeback all the more remarkable.
Societies like to build up their heroes, watch them fall because it makes for good gossip and makes less successful people feel better about themselves.
When the heroes rebuild their lives, the story provides inspiration for other people to believe they can follow suit. This could be a Marvin Gaye or Tina Turner story.
The latest chapter is that Ted Williams, as a result of all the media attention he has been getting, turned back to the bottle and is now in rehab, thanks to Dr Phil. We will try to keep track of this every day man story.
The overall lesson here of course, is that life always seems to give you another chance. It is not necessarily second chances, it could be as many as twenty second chances but you have to dig deep for the hero in you and this all depends on your outlook.
Let me give two sad examples of perception from two recent funerals.
In Tucson, Arizona, the US buried the youngest standby victim of the failed Gabrielle Giffords assassination attempt.
How did the American public react apart from shock and anger?
The mayor of Tucson said “heroes were born today” in reference to the people who tackled the shooter as he attempted to reload his weapon.
Nine-year-old Christina Green, who was born on 9/11, was buried amid heavy symbolism.
The New York Times reported that “a flag from the World Trade Center, brought to Tucson by representatives of the New York City Fire Department, flew outside the church for the funeral.” It is a flag that survived 9/11.
Firemen are the ultimate American everyday hero; the American flag is an iconic symbol whether around John Rambo’s forehead or on nearly every veranda in the US. You have to see it to believe how ubiquitous the flag is. Americans know how to recover from a disaster.
The second example, also involving, is thousands of kilometres away on the other side of the globe in Australia.
Jordan Rice 13 years old, trapped in a flood with his mother and younger brother, insisted that rescuers save his younger brother first. Jordan and his mother were then washed away by the raging waters.
I have no doubt that there are heroes in Zimbabwe but we do not seem to have a culture of celebrating them in everyday life, in our local dramas, and there is almost no literature on the topic except in the political arena and even that is at best a highly polarised debate.
I watched a lady, cannot remember whether she was governor, mayor or whatever of Queensland, but when she spoke during a press conference at the height of the floods, bravely fighting back tears, she said:
“Remember who we are, we are Queenslanders!” You did not get a sense of woe is us at all! I mean, they have awards like young Australian of the year Down Under. And what about the USA? In music, Mariah Carey sings of a hero coming along, there are many movie titles and scripts on television and cinema with the word and notion of “hero” all over and over again.
These people like to celebrate greatness, especially when it comes from your everyday person and it is this “culture” that you must seek to nurture in yourself.
Firstly, be your own hero. Look to yourself! You are your best ally, especially when you have that inner sense of destiny, of achievement at whatever level you decide is appropriate for yourself.
Secondly, celebrate other heros. A candle loses nothing by lighting another! How often do you see the word “hero” in the local press except during certain funerals or in August?
In the US, many baseball teams wore patches on their uniforms to honour Christina Greene and in Australia colourful balloons were released into the sky as the coffins of Jordan and his mother Yvonne were lowered into the grave.
It is this sense of symbolism that keeps cultural practices and beliefs such as heroism alive in the imagination of the masses.
Whether you are homeless person trying to make a comeback or an ordinary working person, when your everyday vocabulary is full of such symbolic meaning such as the American dream, being a hero, the rewards of hard work and giving back to society, you will find yourself operating on a higher plane than most and, like the bumblebee, flying when and where no one expects you to.
That . . . is Innerzela, a mindset and world view that becomes a powerful way of being.
Albert Gumbo is a change agent contact: firstname.lastname@example.org