Who Will Light A Path?

I must follow the people. Am I not their leader? ~Benjamin Disraeli

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Born in a small country home in New Brunswick in March of 1919, Ernie had to grow up fast. After 12 years living at home, he was sent to live with a minister for company and to help him out. But the minister was very abusive towards him, so Ernie, as he calls it, ran/walked away to his uncle's house 41 miles away, and he did it in one day!

But that is the kind of person Ernie is: he makes a stand and is committed to the outcome.

In his time, he has worked as a tail edgerman in a lumber camp, was in the second world war, was "volunteered" to be a military policeman, was a mechanic, an instructor and myriad other things that make up a lifetime. Whatever he does, Ernie always throws himself into it with full abandon.

But it's his attitude towards life that has captured my imagination. He knows that each day is a gift, and he unwraps it with enthusiasm and joy and puts as much back into it as possible.

On Thursday evening, while Debbie and I were interviewing him for our new book, he had to stop often and would go into long coughing spells. The rattle of years of smoking mixed with bronchitis and pneumonia cutting short his breath sending him into whole body spasms was difficult to watch. But not once did he lose his composure, not once did he complain, not once did he indicate any plea for pity, he had a story and he wanted it told.

Born, as he said "bronchial", Ernie never once let that stop him from doing what he wanted to do. When he applied for the army, he was rejected the first time, but he found another back door in and was accepted with flying colours.

After 5 heart attacks, all of which could have killed him, pneumonia, cancer, and after living a hard life, Ernie still has a wonderful zeal for life that amazes me. I asked him, "Ernie, after all you have been through, and all you've done, what would you say is your purpose and passion in life?" He didn't even have to think about it, he beamed "The youth of today. Times have changed so much and they have so much more to think about than we did when we were young. I just want to show them that there is a better way and another way that they can live their lives, and I do it by just loving them and talking to them."

Then yesterday as I was at the post office, in comes Ernie, balanced and creeping forward on his two walking canes and purchased a migratory game bird hunting licence. When I questioned him about it, a smile a mile wide crossed his face and he said "I'm not going to quit living because my health is bad. You never know what I can still do."

I want to be like Ernie!

I want to have the attitude that whatever happens in life, I will be so committed to my stands and declarations that all my actions will honour them.

No wavering on what is right.

No doubts about where I stand.

No pity asked for because of failure.

No fear of what others may say.

But a steadfast, unwavering confidence in how I have chosen to live and the reward that awaits me.

I want the people whom I am lucky enough to have as friends and clients say of me "we have no doubt of his integrity, and we know he is committed to excellence."

I see so many people when their actions or attitudes are examined retreat into excuses.

"It's not my fault" they'll say, "Someone else is responsible." Or "I can't do that; I've never done that before."

Some people have become so intent on saving their own skin or resisting accountability, that they fear taking a stand on anything except self preservation. These people don't make conscious declarations about who they will be or what they want; they make unconscious declarations about why they can't and why they won't.

Where are the Ernie's of the world?

Where are the people who are passionate about living and passing on their knowledge to the next generation?

Who will lay down the rails for the new generations? Who will raise the bar for us to climb to?

Who will light a path for others to follow?

Why not you and me?

This week, will you take up the banner with me? Will you show the world that you can make changes if you want to? Will you show them that you can have a purpose in life and fulfill it? Will you let them know that one person can make a difference? Will you show the world that one voice joined with many other "one voices" can literally change the world?

If not us, then who?

I'm betting on you.

Where will we start? Yes, where?

Make this your best week ever.

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