Daniel (Danny) Lance Wright, Author

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Who We Are and How We Got To Where We Are

There have been countless songs, poems and stories written about people that come into our lives and then move on like smoke in a breeze. I think about that often. Do you?

In each of our lives, from the moment of self-awareness as a young child, infant maybe, people begin passing through and leaving impressions beginning early and then afterwards for a lifetime. The person that leaves that indelible print on our psyche may never personally reappear in our lives but, that individual shares responsibility for who we were, become, are, and will be. We are undeniably products of that presence, no matter how brief.

Of course there are parents, siblings, first loves, classmates and friends but that’s not necessarily who I’m referring to. It’s all those others; doctors, neighbors, teachers, friends of friends, people met in passing at dances, restaurants, church and other public functions—people on the periphery that touch us and move on.

How many events, situations, faces, or verbal exchanges have you had, good or bad, that is burned so deeply that you’ll never forget them? Interestingly, I’ll wager there are many you can think of, that, to this very day, affect your opinions, how you feel about certain things, or maybe just a cozy feeling you want to hang on to for a lifetime?

There are many I claim as Facebook friends that my personal association with can literally be measured in mere seconds over four decades ago, yet, are crystal in my memory and have left their mark on my mind and in my heart. I would even go as far as to say that some do not remember me at all ... doesn’t matter, because they effected me profoundly in some way.

Of course, we should never forget our friends and family, but what about all the others?

Allow me to set a scenario, a true example of what I say here: It is 1986, Carnival Cruise ship, port of call-San Juan, Puerto Rico; passengers and crew with shore leave are disembarking. I find myself in a slow moving line and a young man with cottony blond hair turns to me with a smile and says, “Hi, I’m Afrikaaner. Are you American?”

I loved his accent and was touched that he took the initiative to strike up a conversation. “Yeah,” I replied, “I am. Are you on vacation?”

“Oh, no, I’m your cabin steward.”

Of course I was immediately embarrassed I didn’t recognize him out of his white uniform. In fact he had on a plain white t-shirt, beltless Levis and flipflops with a rolled-up Playboy magazine in his hip pocket. I’m sure I flushed red; my face was hot. “I’m sorry I didn’t—“

“Oh no, don’t apologize. You have no reason to remember me but I’ll always remember you.”


“You’re the only person in my section that shook my hand when I showed you your cabin. I’ll always remember that small kindness. Some bad things have happened to me lately and I wasn’t having a great day. But your smile and handshake changed that. I hope our paths cross again after this cruise.”

This was the first time in my life that it penetrated my thick skull that what we say and do, even the smallest things, can have a profound impact at times.

Now, I think of all the mental snapshots I carry from a lifetime of similar encounters and realize that not a single one can be discounted as unimportant.

This is my way of saying thanks for strolling into and then out of my life because you left your mark, and it is good.

Daniel (Danny) Lance Wright
Author of
"Paradise Flawed"/Dream Books LLC/2009
"Six Years' Worth"/Father's Press/2007
"The Last Radiant Heart"/Virtual Tales/August 2010
"Where Are You, Anne Bonny?"/Rogue Phoenix Press 2010/ ebook available
“Trouble”, short story/CrossTIME Science Fiction Anthology, Vol. IX
“Dancing Away”/short story/Untreed Reads
“Defining Family”
“Annie’s World: Jake’s Legacy”

1 comment:

  1. Dan, what a great post…Causes me to reflect a little bit on my life. We are born, we live, we die and somewhere in between we love, we hate and we experience what life has to offer.

    We make friends, we lose friends, we create emotional ties with people and sometimes somewhere along the way, for whatever reason those bonds are sometimes torn. Yet we always remember and care for them because of what they brought into our lives.

    Life seems to be a constant ebb and flow moving ever forward as we gather life’s experiences and somewhere along the way we learn lessons that help us to grow as individuals and in doing so we move a little closer to who we really are…

    Maybe that is what life is all about. Most of us will look back and if we will take off the colored glasses that sometimes cloud our perspective, will realize that we would not change either the good or the bad because the one always leads to the other. A perpetual dance of doors opening and closing leading us ever forward to new beginnings and new experiences that can change us forever.

    Opportunities in life are sometimes disguised as bad things, at least from our perspective, but a closer look will sometimes reveal a divine hand forcing us into the next great experience in life.