By John R. Greenwood
There are times when words will not suffice, where actions speak louder. There are times when words simply won't rise to the surface, the weight of their meaning too heavy to express. That is the case these days. The emotions of knowing the struggles of the world near and far sometimes overwhelm me. I see the pile so big its shadow covers everything around me. Five minutes later a photo of a grandchild fills me up and injects a smile back in to my heart. I feel tossed like the SS Minnow in a sea of "What's Next?". Once the dust settles I sit and digest all the pieces and parts around me and I always come to the same conclusion; don't live by what you see, hear, or write-- live through your actions. Let the ugly roll off your bent back. Stand up straight, and stand up for what's right. Live with generosity and purpose. Don't look to destroy, it wastes too much energy. Instead, strive to lift up those weighed down with burden. This Father's Day when I took my morning walk I grabbed a pad and pencil in hopes the sun coming up through the trees would inspire me to write something worth sharing. I could feel it, but I couldn't find the words. I kept thinking of Ed Gulley and how lucky I was have people like him as friends. The thrill of having two sons and five grandsons made this particular day, one of pride and joy. Sitting down with my coffee and writing gear this morning didn't inspire me to write at that particular moment. Instead it shut down my mind and opened my heart. It opened it wide and let all the good around me fill me back up. It gave me the strength to head back home with a little more purpose, a little more fuel in the tank. I promise to live with more Ed Gulley-like spirit in me. I will do it for Ed, my family, my friends, and most of all for me. If I don't let the good in the world make me speechless, how will I ever find the words to say, "Thank you".
Happy Father's Day to my sons. They are awesome at the job.
June 06, 2018
Spread Some Ed
By John R. Greenwood
I sat down at my desk to write no less than fifty times over the last several weeks but I always come up empty after a line or two. I keep veering off course by my farmer friend Ed’s wrestling match with cancer. We spend our entire lives solving problems and setting goals for the future. We work on self-improvement and doing a little better for our families than the previous generation. Then one day this nemesis comes knocking at your door and everything changes. I’ve been focused on Ed’s reaction, and his actions since his diagnosis. I’ve been paying close attention to the message he’s been sharing with everyone. Ed is unselfish. He’s kind. He’s generous. He wants everyone around him to benefit from his battle. His message has been one of gratitude for what we do have and can have, not on what’s been lost. He wants us to stop sweating the small stuff we can’t control and start embracing what’s right in front of our noses. Although he’s taken a midwest tour to enjoy some of what this country has to offer he knows what’s really important has been within arms reach the whole time. He didn’t miss that fact, he knew it all along. What he did find during his travels was confirmation that life is good, family is great, and you don’t need deep pockets to appreciate any of it. I promise to continue learning from Ed’s journey. It’s probably the one thing this country needs most right now. Take a moment to look inward not outward for answers. The secret to happiness is in your shirt pocket close to your heart, not on the internet or reality tv.
Do yourself a favor and listen to my farmer friend. Like the Farmer’s Insurance commercial says, “We know a thing or two, because we’ve seen a thing or two.”
Support Ed’s mission to
promote gratitude for the now.
"Spread Some Ed"
Here's an essay written by another hero of mine Michael Perry. The piece is titled “Gratitude”. It’s probably the most powerful piece I’ve ever read or listened to. It fits Ed and his message perfectly. Thank you Ed and Mike, you’re both proof that farmers can cultivate minds as well as a field of corn.
Follow Ed and Carol Gulley's journey here: