Just a warning up front: This entry is slightly lengthy. Also, it gets pretty mushy and sappy – but hey, that’s who I am… and who I want to be ;-). There’s been quite a delay, but since not a soul commented on my last post, I figured there wasn’t TOO much anticipation for the follow-up. Plus, I’ve been a little busy spending time with a new friend, too :-).
So, to begin with, I’ll talk about the comment that inspired this whole thing. I was on the phone with Nick, talking about a friend who is sadly a horrible example of Christianity (hate, pride, etc.), and even though Nick is not a Christian… he can see that our pal is “doing it wrong.” He then shared with me what he recently told his new gal about me. In a paraphrased quote:
“Mark is a Christian, but he’s one of the only ones I’ve known who seems to get it. He’s the nicest guy I know, and if ever need anything, I know I can count on him to always be there for me…. and he gets that from his religion.”
That, at least, was the gist of it. I normally wouldn’t put such a glowing review of myself on here to shout it out loud, but it really meant a lot to me. I’ve been having a bit of a rough time lately, trying to figure out what in tarnation I want to do with my life career-wise, and hearing that was just what I needed that day. It can be hard to tell when I’m going through things because I’m generally so gosh darn jovial, so I know this was a little wink from God… letting me hear what I needed at that moment. So thanks, Nicholas… it really meant a lot.
Similarly, just last night, another friend, Korkie, told me how she explained to someone else how much of a gentleman I was. So, on the record, over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been extolled, by others TO others, for being a good Christian and a gentleman.
What does that have to do with anything? Well, after that initial comment, I started thinking about an entry about how we should all say nice things more often, but it instead quickly led to something bigger – and more important. That comment made me consider not just the one aspect of myself (that I’m nice to people), but everything as a whole. It made me think about the very question that I posed to you… Who do I want to be? Being a Christian and leading a life that is filled with love, kindness, and more, all through faith, IS who I want to be. Everyone likes a pat on the back for a job well done, and while I enjoy folks complimenting me on my acting or other things, hearing something like this from Nick means all the more to me because it lets me know that I am successfully being who I want to be. It’s easy to forget that. Of course, this isn’t everything… and I’m far from perfect.
I want to be me. I want to be the best version of myself that I can be, and to do whatever it is God wants for me on this planet. This is something that nobody else will be or do, as it is for everyone. Considering that, however, if I had to choose one person whom I would love to emulate (and no, not Jesus… that’s too much of a given – and a lazy answer), it would be Mr. Rogers. If you just laughed, you have my sympathy. What a cold, bitter world you must live in. I grew up watching that man’s show, always enthralled. He was my friend… my neighbor. Mr. Rogers was the same kind, soft-spoken man off-screen that he was on his show. He loved children, as do I, and spent his life serving to enrich the lives of kids all over the world. I’d love to work with kids again, myself, though I still have some scars of the past to overcome. The bigger point with Mr. Rogers was his heart. He had an enormous one, and it was filled to the brim with love. In interviews, he could reduce shallow Hollywood interviewers to tears and child-like wonder. He was able to turn around tough members of a congressional hearing to gain more funding for public broadcasting with his gentle ways and the lyrics of a beautiful song he wrote. More than anyone I’ve ever known of, this is how I most imagine Jesus to have been. He didn’t win over crowds with gregarious promises or giant speeches. He won people’s hearts with a gentle word and a smile. THAT is what I’d care to emulate, but of course I’m no Mr. Rogers (or Jesus, obviously)… I’m a little too crazy for that ;-).
Haha, so, after all of this I’ll finally get to the question. Who do I want to be? I want to be someone who my friends know they can always count on… someone they can call at any hour of the day (once I get my own phone, that is… but even now, if it’s an emergency, I’ll be there), for any reason. I want to share how I see the world with as many people that I can, every day. How do I see it? As a beautiful gift to enjoy. I want to stand up against things that shouldn’t be, with a firm foundation of love (not anger, rebellion, or hate) behind my actions. I want to make folks’ days a little better, even if it’s with something as simple as a shared smile as we drive by each other on the freeway. People all too often forget just how nice it is to share a smile. I want to spend my life devoted to people, to using the abilities and personality I’ve been given by God to remind anyone I meet that God’s given us a pretty awesome place to live, and that life’s rather fantastic if you look at it right. I want to be known as a hugger. I want to be someone at whose funeral more smiles of fond remembrance are had than tears are shed. That’s how it was for my grandpa, “Pa.” I want to be the man God wants me to be, both specifically as myself and in the general sense of what true manhood is. I want to be a million other things, both small and large, but there’s no point in divulging such a long list… at least, no longer than I already have :-). I know who I want to be, and some of the things on my list I already am… and some I need to work towards. Ultimately, as we all should, I want to be me… that wonderful person that’s deep inside who looks at the world with child-like wonder and appreciation. I want to be someone who loves life, and encourages others to do the same. I want to be “Pa,” Jesus, and Mr. Rogers… and I want to take credit for none of it, because I’m not the reason for it.
I want to be the very best Mark Mushakian I can be… because there’s only going to be one of those in the history of the world, so I better make the best of it :-).