Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking wrote On theShoulders of Giants in 2002. In the book he recounts the scientific contributions of folks like Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, and Einstein, which serve as the foundation of what we know about how the physical world works. Hawking provides riveting stories about the pathways taken and the hardships experienced by these ground-breaking scientists. Hawking describes these men as “giants” upon whose shoulders we stand as we continue to add to our knowledge of the physical world and universe. Giants, indeed.
Josh Groban recorded “You Raise Me Up” in 2003. The song is one of my favorites. A portion of the lyrics:
“You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains:
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas:
I am strong when I am on your shoulders:
You raise me up… to more than I can be.”
In 1991, Paul Overstreet recorded “Heroes."
The chorus of the song goes like this:
“Cause you know heroes come in every shape and size
Makin’ special sacrifices for others in their lives
No one gives them medals, the world don’t know their names
But in someone’s eyes, they’re heroes just the same.”
All three of the works I cited above are attempts to honor the contributions and investments of significant others who have influenced our thinking and behaviors in powerful ways.
Driving down the road this morning I became acutely aware of the “presence” of some of my heroes. I won’t mention their names because most of you wouldn’t know them. But each, in his/her own way, shaped, sharpened, and shepherded me. To each I am eternally thankful. And, the best way I can honor them is to pay it forward, every day, in as many ways as I can, with as many others as I can.
Those personal giants, upon whose shoulders I stand daily, continue to "raise me up to more than I can be."