And Then Some: A Veteran's Day Tribute
Point to Ponder:
Do you look for ways to serve and be in gratitude towards others, or do you expect for others to serve you and be in gratitude of you?
Yesterday I drove from Tulsa to Austin by myself. It’s a seven hour drive that is by and large an easy one, and while I love having my kids with me, I also love having the time to myself: a time to be with my thoughts, to listen to whatever I want and not be interrupted with restroom requests. This trip was particularly good because I listened to several incredible podcasts, with my favorite being an interview of a 21 year old young man from California named Rishi Sharma.
What makes Rishi so unique and his story so riveting is since a kid, Rishi has been intrigued and fascinated with World War II and the men who served, also known as The Greatest Generation. At 16 years old Rishi began interviewing World War II veterans, simply so he could learn from them and gain insight into the era and their lives. Now, at 21 years old, Rishi has formed a non-profit called Heroes of the Second World War and is on his mission is to interview a World War II veteran everyday and until there are no living World War II veterans. Sadly, 500 World War II veterans die everyday.
What I found so compelling about Rishi’s story and mission is his deep love, respect, admiration and gratitude for this group of veterans and how personal it is that he share their story and life wisdom. When asked what his friends think about what he does, he said he doesn’t really have friends his age. His best friends are the World War II vets. He didn’t go into detail, but he said he felt blessed because to some extent the veterans have filled a fatherly void in his life. In addition, when asked what he’s learned the most from the veterans, his response was 'perspective' and 'selflessness', because going to war wasn’t what they wanted to do, but what they felt they had do to for our country. He continued by saying that to this day, the WWII veterans have a “what can I do for you” mentality, vs “what can you do for me."
Rishi goes on to say that our present day frustrations, such as traffic, standing in line, not having fast internet connection pales in comparison to the veterans who experienced worst nightmares, such as seeing their best friends get killed and having to kill in combat—something they say you never get over. Rishi finished by saying this: “The veterans really try to make this point: life is about the people you meet and how you make them feel and the experiences you have with people around you; making the most of your life, and trying to help as many people as possible, and making the world a better place than before you were here. You have a purpose in life. Make the most of your life and try to help other people”. He finished by saying his personal opinion is that life is not about your twitter feed, your posts or how many followers you have. God bless’m!
I love and admire everything about this young man and his mission, and am personally thankful for what he is doing. One of the things that inspires me about our military and veterans as well as Rishi is their “and then some” mentality. Rishi isn’t just about getting the interview and then bolting. Rishi spends time with these men and is passionate to serve and honor them, and then some. He in fact says the point to what he is doing (interviewing and filming the interviews) is so that 200 years from now the future generations will have the honor and privilege of getting to know what he describes as the greatest men to have ever walked on the face of the planet and so their stories will not be forgotten. In addition, Rishi makes peanuts doing this. It's pure passion and mission based. Prior to forming the non-profit when he traveling for the interviews he would sleep in his car. Now he has a board of directors and he is allotted money for food and travel, but beyond that, he is doing what he does because he loves these men, has deep respect and admiration for them, and then some.
So, what about living the “and then some” lifestyle. When thinking about whether or not I do what is required of me, or if I do what is required of me and then some, I’d say I’m successful at being selfish and fail most of the time. As a wife, mom, daughter, sister, neighbor, friend and consumer, to often I take the entitled "serve me" approach rather than then ‘how can I serve you’ and then 'what else can I do for you'. I’m disgusted that I can be like that. I want to be like Rishi, our World War II veterans and every veteran for that matter, who looks at their life and purpose as a mission and opportunity to serve others, go beyond and then some.
Happy Veterans Day to every veteran and family member of a veteran, as your service and sacrifice is not in vain and does not go unseen or unappreciated. I am deeply and eternally grateful for you!
Look for opportunities to serve, love deeper, express gratitude and then some. Go beyond what's expected.
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