Friday, May 16, 2014

Making a Difference

I finished my last cup of coffee well before 10:00 a.m. yesterday morning. I refrained from all carbonated, caffeinated beverages all day.

Nope, it wasn't the caffeine that kept my heart racing and adrenaline coursing through my veins way into the wee hours last night. What was it then? It must have been the pure and unadulterated energy that was put forth into a room that held a sold out audience of fifty. I went to see Jeffery Straker last night.

I 'met' Jeffery Straker at a house concert in February, 2013. I have been an ardent fan ever since.

I fell in love with him again, over his 'Coming Home for Christmas' single this past December. His music, his energy, his humor and his small town Saskatchewan perspective keep me 'Coming Home to Jeffery' when I am down and out and need a little pick me up.

I told him as much last night as he signed my 'Jeffery Straker Live' CD. I do believe that perhaps Mr. Straker single handedly saved me from myself this past Christmas. I simply could not pull myself out of my pre-festive-season doldrums. Then I found his music video and I played it over and over and over again.

From my second row seat, I had a bird's eye view of Jeffery's piano keyboard last night. Oooooo, the way he could tickle those ivories and make them sing! I had heart palpitations. Over and over again. The way he can barely keep his energy contained as he belted out his songs? I felt his passion envelope the room and captivate every one of us. His humorous anecdotes as he would tell the story of the inspiration for the song that he was about to sing?? I laughed as hard and as long as I have laughed with my other favorite Saskatchewan export (my own family's rising star, comedian Kelly Taylor). I love, love, love his 'home grown' humor and oh-so-relatable stories ...

Then, quietly on the sidelines, strumming his guitar with a sense of depth and tranquillity was 'Brody'. Brody reminded me of the soulful town troubadour on Gilmore Girls. You simply had to take your eyes off of Jeffery for the moments when you wondered "Where did that sound come from?" ... and "How did he make his guitar do that?!?" Sometimes his eyes were far off and distant, other times they were closed and you could feel the deep place that he was drawing from . Then from time to time, he would smile. Just smile.

What completely blows me away is the talent. The pure, unadulterated talent and creativity and courage that it takes to string words together in a manner that they barely need music to accompany them. But then the music is added. The piano becomes 'as one' with Mr. Straker and you can barely tell where he ends and his piano begins.

Jeffery Straker competed in and won international category of Vina del Mar competition in Chili, this past February. I quietly stalked him on Facebook as links to video footage of the event were posted. Small town Saskatchewan has never looked so good! He performed in front of a live audience of 20,000 and due to the magic of live television our Saskatchewan talent had 100 million eyes on him. And he did it! He cast his spell far and wide.

And ... I got to be one of the lucky ones who saw him up close and personal within a personable crowd of 'fifty' last night. I got to speak to him. He autographed my CD. He made it personal. Not with 'just' me. I saw and heard the way he worked his magic during the break. He was 'one of us'. He was simply pouring his heart and soul out into his music that (thankfully) he has decided to share with the world.

To think ... that each of us has 'something'. Something special within us. We can't all be out there singing and dancing our hearts out. Our talents are as unique as our finger print. Some people are out there in the public eye in front of the eyes of millions. Others may be doing small things. Each and every day...

The story that preceded the story of seeing Jeff's (may I please call you Jeff now that we 'know' each other so well??) performance last night, was the heart wrenching story of my friend's dad. He has been hospitalized for close to two months now and will soon be moved to long term care. He is at the mercy of the nursing staff that is paid to take care of him. The stories my friend has to tell about some of the actions and comments of some of the nursing staff breaks my heart. My friend's heart is as big as she is. She works with children each and every day. She cares. She nurtures. She makes a big-time-difference to these small people in our world. She values them. She listens to them. She treats them with respect. She is the Jeffery Straker of the Daycare World. And ... all she hopes for, is to find the same heart and soul within the nursing staff that take care of her father.

Making a difference in the world is not about getting up on a stage in front of millions. It is about making a difference within one person. What you do or say can make or break another living soul. We are all doing sacred work here on this earth.

Yes, Jeffery Staker, you have touched a chord deep inside of me. I love that I have had the opportunity to feel  your talent envelope my soul and touch me in ways that only you could do. If only everyone was following their passion, the way that you have modelled, we wouldn't have these stories about the lack of caring for our elderly ...

Follow your heart. Do what moves you. In doing so, you will touch more people than you ever know. You too, can make a difference. Yes, YOU! You do it every day, whether you know it or not. Good, bad or indifferent. We are all making a difference.

Today ... I choose to make a more positive impact in my world.

Thank you, Mr. Jeffery Straker. You have shown me what a difference one person can make. Thank you, my friend. You too, have shown me that I need to be 'more' of who I am to do what I do, the best way possible.

Now go out there and make a difference today!!

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