Heroes, we all have them, or should, and we all look to them for inspiration in life, encouragement in tough times and advice and counsel when needing wisdom. As a general rule heroes tend to be either historic or fictional, the latter are most often referred to as “super,” and are larger than life, endowed with extraordinary powers. As far as the historic ones go, they are most often dead, or long dead.
Tonight, as I was contemplating my next post, and the discoveries I made this evening. I was in the process of elevating another historic figure into my Top Five list. Then it occurred to me my list failed to recognize the most obvious man deserving of honor in my life. This man has done more to shape the man I have become than any other individual I know. Long ago he shaped and framed the principle and attitudes which form the foundations of who I am.
This man has never authored, or published a major work of philosophy, history, religious belief or succeeding in life. The vast majority of Americans will never know his name, let alone know of him. By modern standards he lives his life in obscurity and anonymity. Yet, for those of us who know him and have learned from him, there is an abiding knowledge of a depth of understanding, wisdom, emotion and sensitivity rarely found in the modern era. His ability to discern relationships, practical, common sense approaches to complex situations is unequaled.
I have found it to be my greatest honor to develop a deep and abiding relationship with this hero. In times of despair, of question, or challenge and of victory and success it has become my extreme privilege to know I can call on him, at any time to gain access to an ear that will listen, question and help me in my need. Sometimes it has only been just to bounce a decision off of him, while at others it was to seek out what he would do in a similar situation. Today, there is never condemnation or judgment in his voice, his words or his advice, but there is love, acceptance and an acknowledgement of me, not only as an individual, but also as a man.
So, tonight, my living hero, and the man who deserves more from me than I often feel able to give, is my dad, Ray Bozarth.
Dad, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to thank you enough for what you have done for me. To thank you for the lessons you gave me early in life, and continue to give so willing impart now 50 years later. Dad, you are one of my heroes, and I am honored to be your son, honored to carry your name, and honored to be able to carry and cherish you legacy. I love you.