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sap and oprah and country love songs

June 16, 2011

If anyone has any idea what this post is about from reading the title alone, you win the grand prize. That title looks like it’s straight out of a Mad Libs book. But it’ll make sense in 5 minutes or so. Probably.

People, I have a confession to make. I am turning into the world’s biggest sap. You can go ahead and tap me; I’ll likely give you a  barrel full of oozing emotions.

I don’t know what happened! I used to be solid as a rock! Cry during movies? Yeah right. Be misty-eyed at the final seconds of an underdog win? Only if the tears were a by product of shouts of joy. Get emotional during daytime TV? Are you kidding? Who does that?

…apparently I do.

I missed the final 3 Oprah shows so my parents taped them for me and brought them out during a recent visit. I popped them in over the weekend expecting to watch them in the background while doing other things.

Um, hardly. It was a 3 hour sob fest. It’s not because I love Oprah or because I’m sad to see her leave her daily 4pm slot. I do and I am, but mostly it just makes me so happy to see people (get ready for the sap…) living up to their full potential. It’s the same reason why I love fictional characters like Tami Taylor on Friday Night Lights and the Cohen’s on The O.C. and real people like Jeremy Cowart and Tim Tebow and Lara Casey and coaches the world over: I love seeing people who live full lives with integrity and passion and motivate others to do the same. Oprah is a prime example of just that.

The final episode was jam packed with wisdom and inspiration. So much of what was said resonated with me and I thought I’d share it with all of you just in case you missed it (and so you can also shed a tear or two thousand).

“Everybody has a calling, and your real job in life is to figure out what that is and get about the business of doing it. Every time we have seen a person on this stage who is a success in their life… they spoke of the juice that they receive from doing what they knew they were meant to be doing. [A calling] lights you up and it lets you know that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be, doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing — to live from the heart of yourself. You have to make a living; I under­stand that. But you also have to know what sparks the light in you so that you, in your own way, can illu­minate the world….

Each one of you has your own platform. Wherever you are, that is your platform, your stage, your circle of influence. That is your talk show, and that is where your power lies. In every way, in every day, you are showing people exactly who you are. You’re letting your life speak for you. And when you do that, you will receive in direct proportion to how you give in whatever platform you have….

You carry whatever you’re supposed to be doing and carry that forward. Don’t waste any more time. Start embracing the life that is calling you and use your life to serve the world.”

“I have felt the presence of God my whole life. Even when I didn’t have a name for it, I could feel the voice bigger than myself speaking to me, and all of us have that same voice. Be still and know it. You can acknowledge it or not. You can worship it or not. You can praise it, you can ignore it or you can know it. Know it. It’s always there speaking to you and waiting for you to hear it in every move, in every decision. I wait and I listen. I’m still—I wait and listen for the guidance that’s greater than my meager mind.

The only time I’ve ever made mistakes is when I didn’t listen. So what I know is, God is love and God is life, and your life is always speaking to you. First in whispers. … It’s subtle, those whispers. And if you don’t pay attention to the whispers, it gets louder and louder. It’s like getting thumped upside the head, like my grandmother used to do. … You don’t pay attention to that, it’s like getting a brick upside your head. You don’t pay attention to that, the whole brick wall falls down. That’s the pattern I’ve seen in my life, and it’s played out over and over again on this show.”

(Full transcript here.)

Rascal Flatts sang this song at Oprah’s United Center tribute, and I absolutely love it. I realize it’s a cheesy love song that will be played at hundreds of weddings and declared “the song” of thousands of teenage romances this summer. But beyond the cheese factor I think it speaks to the heart of what teachers/mentors/motivators everywhere try to instill in the lives of others through their constant and steadfast encouragement.

We’ve talked about my career confusion. Frequently. Probably too frequently. But whatever my calling is, whatever God is whispering to my heart that will someday fall on top of me like a ton of bricks, I hope to be the kind of person reflected in this song. A source of encouragement, a positive influence, a life well-lived.

(And p.s., I promise tomorrow’s post will be nearly sap-free. Mainly because my tear ducts are going to turn into aqueducts if this continues.)

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