When you make your living in the public arena as I do and when you let your opinion be known as I do in mainstream and social media, you expect some criticism and this is as it should be, this being America where our very way of life is centered around free speech.
I don't mind the criticism and usually give as good as I get, respecting all comers, regardless of how far afield or how vehement I consider our differences to be. But, lately, I have been receiving a small amount of correspondence from people who resent the headway that, through the blessings of God and hard work, I have made in my life.
They seem to be of the opinion that anything I possess or have accumulated has been due to luck or having some special advantage over them and others, and that a goodly portion of what I earn through my labor should be taken away and given to people like them.
I would like to personally address this attitude for a moment.
I come from humble beginnings, a blue-collar background, and the first house I remember my family living in didn't even have running water.
I have worked all my life - in my younger days in the log woods, the peanut and tobacco fields, on the blistering work yard of a creosote plant, in a factory with an assembly line. I have picked cotton, plowed a field with a horse, cleaned out a chicken house, and I've even been a water boy. I know what hard work for little money is all about.
I am not a natural musician; I have to work a little harder, put in a little more time and really concentrate to have any degree of dexterity or proficiency and have put in untold hours of trial and error, sweat and effort to arrive at what you hear come out of my fiddle and guitar today.
I took a big chance when I left a stable daytime job with a future to pursue a career in a business fraught with uncertainty and gambles. I desperately wanted to be a full-time musician, but it meant giving up a regular salary.
But, if you’re never willing to take some chances, to cut the apron strings, with nobody to guarantee your next paycheck or your health insurance or your retirement, if you’re not willing to adopt a “me alone against the world” attitude and be willing to find out what you're really made out of, you’re never going to rise above the fray. Maybe, you don't really want to be above the fray. It gets rough out there and if you want to play it safe, there’s nothing wrong with that.
But there will always those who take the rocky road less traveled, lay it all on the line, sail the ship into stormy waters with a destination…but no map. Many will not get to where they're going; some will arrive but not appreciate what they've achieved and quickly fall.
There will be others who will put their feet on the path, but when the hills get too steep they will give up.
There's been a lot of water under the bridge since those early days, but the challenges never cease.
It's an awesome responsibility to know there are 25 families depending on you to deliver a paycheck twice a month. My trip to my job every day may well be 700 miles or more and it's my responsible to provide dependable transportation for 16 people and our equipment where we are going safely and on time.
What I'm trying to say in all this is that success requires sacrifice and going out on a limb, slogging through a lot of mud before you get any solid ground under your feet, signing the contracts and the bank notes, and shouldering responsibilities that can make you lie awake at night.
Has it been worth it? To me, it has.
Have I had help? The Lord has blessed me with the most efficient and dedicated employees I could ever hope for, an understanding wife and son, the desire and drive to keep standing up every time I got knocked down and a love for my profession that time and age has not dulled.
I am truly blessed by God and give Him credit for every good thing that has ever happened to me. He has seen me through some difficult times and taken me to some heights I would have had a hard time even dreaming about all those years ago when I left my regular job and took the biggest chance of my life.
I have worked extremely hard and made a lot of sacrifices to arrive at what my life is today and everybody else has the same chance at the American dream that I did, but nobody owes it to you, you’ve got to go out and earn it.
What do you think?
Pray for our troops, and for our county.
God Bless America
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