How do you think you’ve made a difference?
My idea of making a difference is just getting people to open their eyes to other ideas, mindsets, or perspectives. I’m not the originator of those things, I am only trying to get people to widen the scope of their thinking to see what they would normally dismiss. I have a few conservative and Christian friends that I like to poke at what they believe, so I can understand the “why” of it all. That helps me to open my eyes and understand where they are coming from. I can only hope that my example of such a process helps them to do the same with me. In that manner, we both learn a touch more about directions that we normally wouldn’t face.
There are a few people that would suggest that I make a difference by writing about my perspectives here on the blog. ::shrug:: I can understand and relate, but in terms of learning more – nothing beats an out-of-fashion discussion. I say “out-of-fashion” simply because our modern-day society emphasizes the idea of “winning” every contentious discussion that is had.
There are others that cite my example as a Druid as inspiring them to make progress in their own studies. In a major way, this type of “difference” scares me because I know how badly I’ve fucked up along my own Path. I hear that I am an example, but when I compare that to my own Path over very rocky terrain, I’m always perplexed how I can be inspirational and not be cited more properly as a warning sign of “how-not-to-do-it.”
A few folks have mentioned that its my completely open honesty that has that inspirational effect. I don’t shy away from the fact that I’m hardly anywhere near to being perfect. I’m also honest about the landmines I have stepped upon and the ones I’ve tap-danced on. But that’s always been a point of the blog: to honestly show some of the missteps I’ve endured, and how I’ve managed to get beyond those points. I guess that can be considered as “making a difference.”
“Making a difference” also comes in the form of always trying to be there for a hand to hold, arms that can hug others in their times of need, and a staff I can lend to others to lean on. I’ve constantly mentioned the perspective of acts of kindness and compassion. That’s a leftover from Grateful Dead concerts and interviews. No matter which member was stepping up to the plate, there was always a mention of how kindness was something that every single person at the concert could do to make the world a better place. All we have to do is offer a hand to hold, a shoulder to lean into, or an ear to bend. Each one of those acts requires nothing that we should have any issue offering. In the words of Bob Weir, all we have to do is be there.
I have had it mentioned to me many times that I could make a difference by being in a place of leadership. I’ve always been of the mind that there are so many Pagans and Druids that are far better at being a leader than I could ever dream of being. And I’ve had friends disagree loudly on that point. Well, I have an upcoming move to Arkansas – where I have yet to find an OBOD group (or even a member) in the Little Rock area. Since I announced this to friends, more than a few have mentioned that I would seem to be in a place to start some kind of OBOD-y activity there. Perhaps that is true. Perhaps, my Gods are shoving me in that direction. Time will be the arbiter of that perspective. My first concern is getting moved up there after finding someplace to live. Priorities, no?
Being an inspiration, someone to look to for leadership or what not – that’s a very odd place for me to find myself. It’s a scary proposition. I keep trying to push the idea of being a role model away. It keeps coming back to latch on to me like the hairs of my cats to my casual-wear t-shirts. However, knowing that people are looking to how I handle myself, especially with those that are diametrically opposed to what I believe in, has made me take a longer, harder look at how I approach potentially contentious moments. This has me taking periods of pause, to bring myself into check a bit more, so that I act correctly and accordingly. Sometimes, I feel like I am back in Non-Commissioned Officer schools when I was in the Air Force, learning the proper way to comport myself as an enlisted leader within my duty section.
There are so many ways to make a difference. More than I could dare to count. However, I have found myself coming back to one theme throughout my thought process on this: whether I like it or not, someone is going to be looking to me for how a Pagan Druid handles himself. Someone will find my very direct manner of dealing with issues to be an enduring aspect of who I am and take inspiration towards stepping up and into the pitch. And at some point in their lives, someone will be doing the same to them. Making a difference can be complicated, but not doing it means there was a missed opportunity to be the Pagan Druid that I am. And I hate missing opportunities.