Sunday, August 1, 2010

I Thank God for the People in my Life

I thought I would take advantage of Ford's "No interest for 60 months offer" and buy an F-150 extended cab with  4-wheel drive and a towing package...  Until I saw that they start at $40,000!  Who the hell can afford that?

I got really down thinking about my lack of "toys" and other earthly possessions.  We live in a small house and drive old cars, live fairly frugally, but besides a modest amount of money in the bank, what do we have to show for it?  I don't know how people afford those big house and new cars...

Life is Not About Things
Papa Silverfiddle gave me a copy of Pastor Rick Warren's Purpose Drive Life.  I know, he's built up an entire money-making industry, he gave an invocation at Obama's inauguration, yadda yadda, yadda...

The man has written a very good book that makes a Christian think, and I'm not even an evangelical.  It got me thinking about where my life would be without those people who have helped me, shaped me, and seen me to the successful place in my life that I now enjoy.

It's Not About Me
I grew up in a Mayberry RFD kind of existence.  We ran around and played all day, and if you got into mischief, your parents would know about it before you got home.  My young life was full of uncles who taught me how to shoot, build bicycles and work on engines.  Grandpas who taught me how to build things, clear brush and chop firewood.  I learned the value of hard work from these great men.

I thank God for Papa Silverfiddle pushing me into the Air Force at the tender age of 17.  I had plans to go to California and become a rock star, but he was having none of that.  Without his guiding hand, I more than likely would have turned into a worthless hometown bum.

Tech Sergeant Hess taught me everything I needed to know about life in the Air Force.  His guidance laid the foundation for a pretty successful career.  Captain Blake is the man who challenged me to get my bachelors degree.  I was lazy, and I talked about it a lot but took no action.  One day he got in my face and poked me in the chest, telling me in effect to sh*t or get off the pot.  Enroll in a degree program, get to class, or stop talking about it!  Five years later I received a Bachelor of Science from the University of New York.

My wife (a common story among men) pulled me off of a bad and twisted road and showed me what true unselfish love was really all about.  The kids came along and I shed more of my cynicism and selfishness.

John, a trusted older friend, challenged me to aim higher in my job search when I retired from the Air Force.  The job positions he recommended looked so daunting, but I went for it and landed something good, and at a higher salary range than I had thought possible. 

My parents first, and later helpful friends and mentors, taught me the value of frugality and budgeting and warned me about the siren song of "easy" credit.

None of us got where we are on our own
Thanks to all these people, I have a wonderful family, a modest but nice home in a quiet working class neighborhood, and a well-paying job for a man of my modest education.

I have a clean conscience, a clean record, and owe nothing but a small monthly house payment.  We're healthy and happy and we know how to take the good with the bad, and we enjoy life's little pleasures. 

God may not bless me with a new pickup, but I thank Him all the same.


Endo_2011 said...

Excellent Post my friend, it sounds like you and I have very similar backgrounds. Although I don't have the military experience, everything else sounds very familiar. And yes, just like you, my wife was the final person to set me straight!

As for the truck, I had the same sticker shock, and decided to keep my 10-year-old GMC! It runs, looks good, and outside of a little rust around the frame, it still delivers much like you and I!

Christopher - Conservative Perspective said...

Hey Silver,

Nice post. It seems many of us have similar backgrounds regardless of where we were raised. That would tend to make it a more generational phenomenon I believe?

No matter really what the cause so long as we repeat those same lessons in life to the next generation.

Although not seeking thanks ourselves by doing this we may avoid being held in scorn for failure to do so responsibly.

Silverfiddle said...

Thanks WMUR!

Reagan, addressing a womens group said something like, without the influence of the fairer sex, we men would still be living in caves and running around wearing loincloths, or something to that effect.

Of course, he took heat from the lib-fems...

Another advantage of an old car is that when you daughter scratches when she lost control of her tricycle, its not nearly as painful as if it were a brand new vehicle.

And there is something to be said for not being burdened by debt. God bless Dave Ramsey!

Silverfiddle said...

Yeah Christopher, it probably is generational.

Those grandparents and Aunts and Uncles saw WW II and some of the really old ones grew up in the depression, and the younger ones had heard the stories, so they all tended to be hoarders and savers who placed a great premium on self-reliance.

An you hit the nail on the head about passing it on. I know that instilling solid values in my kids is the most important job I have.

WomanHonorThyself said...

love the warmth of this post Silver..Have a super Sunday my friend!!!:)

Silverfiddle said...

You too, Angel!

Bastiatarian said...

"It's a Wonderful Life" is one of my all-time favorite movies. I try to watch it at least a few times a year, just to be reminded of the things you have written about.

Silverfiddle said...

Bastiatarian: My whole family and I love that movie! We watch it every Christmas. It is a timeless classic and does have a wonderful message.

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