A Gift

I’ve been given a gift for over thirty-five years but I only just realized it this past weekend.

Times are tough for many people. There are a load of sad songs being sung and I’d venture to bet that almost anyone could tell you a sob story about personal hardship they’ve experienced this past year alone. Life is far from perfect. And unfortunately, justice isn’t always part of the equation. But some people actually have it incredibly hard, like those in any holocaust or soldiers in battle, while most others only think they do.

Several months ago, a friend of mine told me that I don’t let people just feel bad about things. I always have to try to find the silver lining, she said. And I was thinking, “Why are you saying that like it’s a bad thing?” She was, saying it like she wished I was otherwise.

And then a few days ago, a friend of mine was feeling sorry for himself. Yes, he’s going through a very tough time, and it sucks, but I couldn’t listen to it. I mean, he’s not being put to death in a gas chamber or anything. Yeah, he might have to do a ton of hard work, and probably a lot of it isn’t going to make him thrilled, but I think unless you’re one of those who gets everything handed to them on a silver platter, and life is always fair to you, my advice is get off your ass and do something about which you’re complaining. And I mean truly do something, 100% percent, from dawn to dusk.

After I ranted, I realized how fortunate I’ve been because of a gift my parents bestowed upon me all the years of my life. It’s not a gift money could buy. Or a gift one could wrap with paper and a nice bow. It’s a gift one has to see demonstrated before their very own eyes. It’s a gift one has to learn.

It’s the gift of understanding how to accept one’s life as their own and be responsible for it.

This doesn’t mean life is fair by the way. It isn’t. Some are born into riches, others into poverty. But this gift can be applied to either situation.

I choose to look for the silver linings in life. I choose to see the glass as being half full. I choose to believe positive energy begets the same because as Camus once said, “Life is a sum of all your choices.”

Do things happen for a reason?

As those who know me or follow my blog are well aware, I am not religious (I’m agnostic, actually) and I don’t believe in fate. But lately, I’ve been wondering… do some things happen for a reason? Or is it simply a matter of timing?

Ron Paul came into my life this past year when I was searching desperately for someone who I could believe in and could fight for to become my president. Since I’ve found him, I’ve been motivated to volunteer my time and work hard on his campaign. In the process, I’ve truly learned about what an amazing human he is. And during all this, I’ve been dealing with my career as a filmmaker…

I make films that I know not all people want to see. I wish they would but reality dictates otherwise right now. See, I believe in individual responsibility, in as little government as possible as the Constitution states, in philosophy, in making people think, in drawing out what one doesn’t want to think about. I don’t do it because I want to be different or controversial or antagonistic. I do it because it’s what’s real to me, what’s meaningful to me and what I’m drawn to as a filmmaker. It’s my life. And in effect, it’s my life’s work. But it’s not that popular right now. So, what do I do?

I keep at it.

And I think about the time when these values will appeal to the masses, even if they don’t right now.

And that’s where Ron Paul comes in. I truly wonder about the timing that he’s entered my life. It’s practically Kismet, but I never believed in that. He’s been at it for forty plus years and has never wavered from his principles. He’s braved the masses rejecting him, ridiculing him, ignoring him. But now, his time has come. Not only has he predicted this entire mess we find ourselves in as Americans, with blame belonging to BOTH the right and the left, but he’s resonating with America’s youth because they aren’t okay with the status quo.

It’s the likes of him and people like my parents, two individuals who have never asked for anything from anyone but came to America as legal immigrants and used their own efforts to achieve success and instill responsibility into their children, that I am motivated by to continue making the films I believe in and not succumb to anything but.

It’s a tough road to stand by one’s personal beliefs but when I see people like my parents and Ron Paul, I’m reminded that it’s our beliefs and principals that matter. And while the success of those who feel this way may not happen overnight, what’s important is that they remain true to themselves. Success is defined by each individual…

Perhaps the author of Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White, had it right when he said – “Your whole duty as a writer is to please and satisfy yourself, and the true writer always plays to an audience of one. Start sniffing the air or glancing at the trend machine, and you’re as good as dead, though you may make a nice living.”