I first found my inward Jonathon in a high school literature class. Jonathon Livingston Seagull was a required read and our entire semester focused on the principals found within. I never knew that this book, these principals would affect me in so many ways years later. Sadly, I was rebellious, immature and had no interest in the BIG picture. I dropped out of high school, took a job as a factory worker, and then came LIFE!
Fast forward three years.... I had gotten married and my wife unexpectedly died, I had no purpose. Life had no meaning. I sat on a carpet rolling machine one day and looked at the others around me. For the first time, I saw the "Flock" and I knew I wanted no part of their self-imposed lot in life. That's the day I determined myself to rise above my circumstances and fly!
That was thirty five years ago. Since then, I have become a successful engineer. I have designed several machines, received US patents and absolutely love my life, both in the professional world and in my personal life pertaining to where I was, who I am and where I'm headed.
If there is one phrase that epitomizes my life, it has to be "I have lived." I have stood on the tops of the Alps, I have walked on a glacier. I've stared a Grizzly bear in the eyes. I've seen an eagle fly. I have jumped from a perfectly good airplane. I have spun the slots in Vegas. I have played my guitar and written songs for no one but me. I have cried from happiness, I have laughed from joy. I have felt the honor, respect and adoration of my children. I've been so deeply disappointed that I felt shame. I have cried from fear. I have held my loved ones as they died. I have known every emotion. I have experienced every high and every low that life has to offer. Yes "I have lived."
During my life, I have read Jonathon Livingston Seagull probably fifteen times. I have given it to many a graduate and to all my kids. Every time I read it, Jonathon and I grow closer. I thank you for using your gift of flight and offering this great book to the world. If it never opens another eye, it opened mine and I am eternally grateful for getting to know Jonathon. He is my brother.