Who Was St. Patrick?

Who was Saint Patrick, the patron saint of the Irish whose name represents all things green? Because of the holiday—St. Patrick’s Day, celebrated every March 17th—you might think this historical figure was an Irishman who drank green beer. In fact, neither is true. Saint Patrick was actually born in Scotland or Wales to parents who were Romans living as colonial bureaucrats in Britain! Born around 385, Patrick is surely to have drunk beer, or ale as it was called then. People drank a lot of beer back then because it was cleaner than water (that could give you nasty parasites and diseases). But as everybody knows, ale is more of a meal in a glass, and generally much darker than the standard pilsners and lagers from my Germanic ancestors and other Europeans. I don’t think they had green food coloring then; making beer (and rivers) green is an Irish-American invention meant to celebrate ethnicity. Patrick would have grown up with some privilege, as his parents worked for Roman occupiers. However, in his teens, a raiding party (that’s what they did back then) invaded and kidnapped Patrick off to Ireland, where he was made to heard sheep. It was as a slave in Ireland that he encountered God. There is nothing like captivity or other unpleasant circumstances to get you on your knees. He later wrote, “The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was roused, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same…I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain.” After about six years...

Legacy

What will you leave behind? That was the focus of a discussion led by my good friend Jack Woloshun. We were there to talk about the many crossroads in life and the people with whom we share the journey. Have you thought about what you would like to leave behind? What will remain once your flesh and bones no longer walk this earth? How will you be remembered? To demonstrate what’s possible, Jack pulled out a book his daughter assembled for his 60th birthday. She had contacted the many family and friends from Jack’s life and invited them to express their sentiments. The words were anything but shallow, very unlike canned drugstore greeting cards. Rather they were lengthy letters of affection, memories and hope for the future. Jack only read 3 or 4 letters from the book, but what he shared demonstrated what it means to leave a legacy. Jack has spent his life giving to others; he has chosen to be a giver instead of a taker. The letters reflect a lifetime of memories, influence and impact. I think that is what it’s all about. Legacy is something you may or may not have thought of; I think the answer is likely dependent on your age and to what extent you consider your life in the grand scheme of humankind. Legacy is not about leaving a hospital or street with your name stamped on. It’s not about things you did that elevated your ego. It’s not about how many toys you collected. It’s not even about how much money you left to charities or your kids. Legacy is fundamentally about who you are. Your legacy is a replica of how you live your life every day. What would happen if people were asked...

The World Needs You

“You have something to give the world that no one else does.” That’s what I tell groups when I teach or give inspirational talks. “Our job is to figure out who we are and what IT is, then get on with it.” Unfortunately, we often get in the way of our own success. We have fears, insecurities, lack creative thinking, yada, yada, yada. We fail to see possibilities or look for opportunities. And then there’s that thing we have to deal with–CHANGE! How do you feel about change? Some people hate it; others thrive on it. Depending on our personality and experiences, we have varied levels of comfort with the “C” word. Some will avoid risk at almost any cost. They prefer every day to be similar and predictable. That’s ok. The world needs these faithful, reliable people. Others (like me) can’t stand any two days that are the same, and may even change the route going home just to mix things up. We love new things, new foods, new ideas and surprises. But it doesn’t mean we are always successful. Like it or not, change is part of life. And in a digital world going faster than we ever imagined, change is constant. I picked up a little book by Seth Godin, titled, Graceful: Making A Difference in a World That Needs You.  I got this little ebook for my Kindle for $2.51;  iTunes and Nook have it also. In case you’re not familiar with him, Seth Godin has written 12 best-selling books and blogs at http://sethgodin.typepad.com. I mentioned his book, The Dip, in my article, I Quit. In this quick read, Godin lays out 30 ideas for making a difference in the world. He discusses grace, a character attribute in short supply,...