Recently it has been my privilege on behalf of the Missions Foundation to participate in the Baylor Oral History project. In preparation for those conversations, they asked me to think back, not only over the 31 years of the life of the Foundation but over the path that led to my being president of this organization.
As is often the case, the journey back down the path found good decisions and bad; opportunities taken and missed; and occasional musings of “what if.” The most significant thing to me, however, was to remember the many, many people who had well-influenced the direction of the path along the way. I realize that I am blessed indeed; wonderfully blessed, in fact, to say there is a long list of folks who had guided me along the way. Some of you who are reading this would fit into that category.
As a person so generously blessed, I realized that I had been very negligent in appropriately thanking those who invested in me. While I appreciated the gifts along the journey, I had done a very poor job of thanking the giver and letting them know how much their gift of time and wisdom influenced my life.
It's interesting to think specifically about how these to whom I'm so indebted have dispensed this wisdom. My dad was a man of few words but one of great example. An incredibly patient teacher, his life lessons were lived out in front of me as a woodworker and a fly fisherman when he wasn't being a microbiologist. Others were supervisors who took the time to help me understand the "why" of something we were doing. Sometimes it was simply a "have you thought about this?" that turned into a great lesson for me.
For some that I would thank, my attitude of gratitude has come too late. The help they gave me is now another star in their crown. But for others, I still have time; not to take a star out of their crown but to let them know of another one that will surely be there.
I think I can say that, if you’re honest, you could have written an article just like this. Now is a good time to think about the people who have a good influence on you. Some have done it with words and some with actions, but all did what they did to help you. Maybe you think it’s too late to say “Thanks.” They are still around but you’d feel awkward saying anything now. My mother once told me that it’s never too late to do the right thing and a heartfelt and well-said expression of gratitude will never be considered tardy.