He came bursting into our living rooms, on our computers, and on our cell phones. It was January, 2011, and a roving news reporter with a camera noticed a disheveled homeless man holding a sign asking for financial help. The sign included a hand-written statement advertising his radio voice. The reporter took a chance, gave the man some money, and asked him to give an example of his voice. He caught it all on camera.
Today, than ONE video has been viewed 20 MILLION times around the world. Within days, the homeless man was flooded with job offers, financial aid, requests for interviews, and appeared live on the Today show with Matt Lauer. And then the bottom fell out. Not long after the media sensation began, he appeared on Dr. Phil’s show and admitted he’d returned to drinking heavily, was an alcoholic, and was going to seek treatment.
His name is Ted Williams, “The Man With The Golden Voice.”
After the news came out about his substance abuse issue, the media sensation faded instantly. We didn’t hear from him again, not until May 14, 2012, when he again appeared on the Today show with Matt Lauer, proclaiming he’s been sober for just over a year now.
Shortly after the interview began, Matt remarked to Ted; “We ran into each other a couple of weeks ago on the street and I said to myself; ‘He looks good. He looks really good!’” From there, Ted recounted the events of his life over the past year and as the interview ended, there wasn’t a doubt, at least for those of us who saw him back in 2011 and followed what happened on the news shortly thereafter. This is a changed man, in every way.
What does it take for us to “change”, to seek out new solutions for our problems? Death, divorce, job loss, financial concerns, relationships, and yes, substance abuse. All of these are well-known to many of us in this 21st century life, especially those of us in the 45-60 year old age bracket. We’ve seen so much “change” in our world since the dawn of the new century 12 years ago. 9/11. Historic droughts. Global warming. Ever increasing speed of technology. “Instant gratification.” An historic and unprecedented economic collapse in 2008 that nearly led to a depression on a global scale that would have dwarfed the “Great Depression.”
It’s become nearly impossible to make sense of anything, including our relationships, our jobs, and our families have been left in turmoil and despair.
I fondly recall a conversation with my 87 year old Aunt several months ago about these topics. In her own unique style, given her years of wisdom and knowledge as a public school teacher, she said; “We have to get comfortable with confusion.”
I laughed at the time. Her remark was poignant and provided clarity. But as the months have passed and I’ve continued evolving into this new path as a mentor, life coach, and writer, drawing on all of my experiences, both good and bad, most of which have been publicly chronicled, I see things differently today.
We’ve got to get back to the basics. The world has become too complicated. Consequently, we “think” we should seek complicated solutions. We’re over-thinking. We’re allowing our brains to solve matters better suited for our heart and spirit. It’s those gifts bestowed upon us at birth by God, nurtured by those who raised us, that later blossomed into virtues, only to be trampled under as adults by an ego-driven, hedonistic life-style, that we need to return to.
It’s a bridge to our past, forgotten, but yet still hidden within us, locked behind walls of fear, pride, doubt, and despair we should boldly move forward on. That’s “Inspiration at the END….Discovering NEW Beginnings.”
Why you may ask, after reading this diatribe about “new ways of living and thinking”, did I lead-in with the Ted Williams story? A story solely about one man with a substance abuse problem?
Because it “spoke” to me loudly. In many ways, I’ve walked in this man’s shoes. And what made it resonate even louder was when I recall what my former sister-in-law said to me one day when I returned to my hometown of Tribune, Kansas, a little less than a year into sobriety. It was spring 2009 and I saw her on the street. She looked at me and said; “You look good. You look really good!”
The exact words Matt Lauer said to Ted Williams on the Today show just last week. Serendipity and the synchronicity of life strikes again. Thank you God!