Week 27 7-3-20 “The Four Cornerstones of Character”
“The four cornerstones of character on which this nation was built are: Initiative, Imagination, Individuality and Independence.”
– Eddie Rickenbacker (1890 – 1973)
American Aviator and Business Executive
As I sit at my desk at Arthur Murray, looking out at the street with people walking around in masks, observing social distancing, I cannot forget for a moment that we are in a pandemic that is worldwide ongoing. As a small business owner, I am very aware of the economy and what is happening to all the businesses in Santa Monica and around the country and around the world. Having a new and powerful awareness of Black Lives Matter has changed my life and is changing my present and shaping my future. Knowing that we have an election in 123 days in a country that is truly divided is always on my mind as the press covers the election 24/7.
We have a world in great change. How will we get through this and how will we end up? What will our world be like November 4th? What and where will we be a year from now? Where will we be tomorrow?
Perhaps we should first become involved and take action to make sure first we live through the virus, that we have some kind of economy at the end of it, that we continue the work of Black Lives Matter, and that we greatly support our country as we all come together as a nation. Service is the beginning of change. Only action can make our dreams and visions come true.
Dreamers. Come forth! I am a dreamer. I still believe that our business will survive this crisis and that we will come back even stronger and even better in the future. As a married gay man, I dream that the LGBTQ movement will continue to embrace Black Lives Matter and that everyone matters in life. Being from the deep South and growing up Southern, I want to see all equality for all people. I dream this still.
We are all different. We are many colors and from many backgrounds. Having grown up gay in the South, I have been chased down, assaulted, attacked, bullied, ignored and ostracized. Now, at 63 years old, I have decided that all the labels you may put on me mean nothing if I am not known as someone who gives service and lives to help others in life. I am a strong supporter of SOSA (Survivors of Suicide Attempts) and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255). I am called to help those who are on their last leg, the end of their rope, and those without hope. This takes much courage and I am not afraid to speak up for those who are hurting in life. I am my own individual. I am not afraid to follow my callings in life.
My great parents are in heaven together. Col. Troy Woodbury and J. Clair Woodbury are always with me, but they are spiritually with me. Now, I’m the dad. I am the person people call for assistance, help, guidance. The truth of this is that no one is truly independent, because we are nothing without collaboration with others. We must experience partnership and connection with others to make our lives vital and full of purpose. At Col. Woodbury’s funeral, there was almost a full hour of many different organization who spoke about my father. He was a leader and a participant in life. He served others. I am becoming my dad, and proud to do so. My mother was loving, creative, and always said to me “Keep a little song in your heart” and I am becoming my mother as well.
God help me to daily practice these Four Cornerstones of Character!
We will make it through all this. It will get better…and it will!
Happy Independence Day!
Thank you for reading.
Love you all,