Inspire Awe

Every New Year’s Eve I go to Saint John the Devine Church in Ney York City to attend the Concert for Peace. It is awe inspiring and a highlight of my year. I look forward to it and at each one of these concerts Harry Smith, of TV fame is the Master of Ceremonies. He is a great orator and I always wait with the rest of the crowd gathered in the church for when he gets choked up, sheds a tear apologizes and continues on. He touches on so many subjects about the state of the world it is easy to see how he can get choked up talking about them. Heck, I get choked up thinking about the many times I have listened to him talk. I come away from each of these gatherings feeling renewed and ready for the New Year. He inspires awe. The philharmonic Orchestra, Judi Collins, other musical guests and invited speakers attend, teach and entertain us. The immensity of the church is beyond compare and it really leaves you feeling awe in a way that this small three letter word cannot do justice. But awe is the best word I can find to describe the feeling. When Harry Smith takes the lectern we all applaud especially those of us who have been coming for many years to hear him open up and lead us through the evening. One of them is so awe (that little word again) inspiring that it is hard to share the feeling; I can share the words but am at a loss to transmit the feeling to you. Picture this, all the seats in the church have a thin candle and printed program placed on them before the audience arrives. At the end of the evening Judi Collins leads us in singing, “This Little Light of Mine”. One candle is lit at the front of the church and from that single candle all the others are lit. The light sweeps through the thousands of us so fast that it is incredible to behold. It sweeps through the church as each of us turns and lights another stranger’s candle and it happens so quickly you cannot believe it. The light these many candles provide is hard to believe. I feel awe! (What a small word to describe such an immense feeling, but I have no choice but to use it)

Many times we are inspired to action or pressed to action by an event and when we take action we are made better for it. There are many people less fortunate than some of us. So don’t turn away from being a mentor, sponsor, role model or volunteer. Inspire awe! 2009 is going to begin with more of the same bad news we have witnessed in 2008, but if we reach out to those around us we do come into contact with, then maybe we can help each other get through this together. Help your family, friends, employer and planet when you can. I remember seeing Pink Floyd in concert a long time ago when they played, “On the Turning Away”. I could not believe that in so few words they were able to tell me that I needed to be aware of those less fortunate. Awe! Here are the lyrics;

"On the Turning Away"

(Pink Floyd Momentary Lapse of Reason)

On the turning away

From the pale and downtrodden

And the words they say

Which we won't understand

Don't accept that what's happening

Is just a case of others' suffering

Or you'll find that you're joining in

The turning away

It's a sin that somehow

Light is changing to shadow

And casting it's shroud

Over all we have known

Unaware how the ranks have grown

Driven on by a heart of stone

We could find that we're all alone

In the dream of the proud

On the wings of the night

As the daytime is stirring

Where the speechless unite

In a silent accord

Using words you will find are strange

Mesmerized as they light the flame

Feel the new wind of change

On the wings of the night

No more turning away

From the weak and the weary

No more turning away

From the coldness inside

Just a world that we all must share

It's not enough just to stand and stare

Is it only a dream that there'll be

No more turning away?

Pink Floyd - On the Turning Away (1988)

What you and I can do in 2009 to help others is to inspire awe. Yup, as a CCIE you can do this, you can inspire awe. Think about how hard it was to prepare and then pass the lab. That act can inspire another to do the same thing, to be focused and to forge ahead. So inspire awe. You can do it, after all it is only three letters and you can spell it and create it. Be a mentor and you will see what I mean.

There are many folks who will be retooling or reinventing themselves because of the thousands of layoffs occurring around the world. Some of these people will be looking at IT for a new direction and some will be focused on Cisco certifications as a means to an end. Lend a hand and inspire, don’t just advise; be a mentor! Inspire awe. At a time when the demand for network engineers is so high your help is essential. Look to your history in IT and see if you can help with a short cut or two. If you are an old timer like me, for the most part we discovered our careers with little or no help. What we can dispense is wisdom. You can inspire awe easily if you have been in networking for over 10 years you have seen the biggest changes in how IP shrank the planet. Awe, and you were there to make it happen.


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