Once a friend of mine, we’ll call him Steve, told me that he made a list of the most influential people in his life. I had mixed feelings about this. Yes, it’s a great way to pay tribute to the many people who mean so much to me, but then, on the other hand, what if I leave someone off the list? What about people who think they should be on the list and yet they didn’t make it? I’d feel bad.
But, in the end, this list is not about me. It is about the things others have done that have impacted lives, mine just being one of them. The list could include personal encounters, favorite writers, and historical figures who have shared a bit of themselves and, in a very intimate way, influenced who I am. Sometimes it happens by what they say, sometimes by how they treat others, sometimes just by being the people they are. It is remarkable how very brief encounters—moments—have left permanent impressions on our lives. So if I can write about some of these people and the part they have played in helping to form me, maybe, just maybe, I can share that wisdom and be an influence on others.
However, I probably won’t make Steve’s list; you know how Giant fans feel about Dodger fans.