Do you remember it? Do you remember what it felt like?
I have a vivid memory of mine. I was about four. My parents owned a glass business. In the afternoons, my Mom would often take me with her to the shop. I guess I would sometimes fall asleep on a bench in the showroom. This particular day is burned into my memory.
I open my eyes. The daylight is dwindling. I’m so tired and confused. The lights are off. Why are the lights off? Something is wrong. It doesn’t seem right. Where is everyone?
I jumped up from the bench and head straight to the sliding glass doors. They overlook the street. The building is set back from the street with a large parking lot in front. There are no cars. But I can see the traffic passing by on the street. And that’s when I see it.
A big, bright yellow glass truck. Heading down the street. Away from the shop.
My Dad is in it. He’s heading home. Without me. He left me!
I panic. I am instantly frightened. I scream. I beat my fists on the door.
Nobody can hear me. I am alone. I am afraid.
All I can do is curl up in a ball and cry. I didn’t know how to use a phone. I didn’t know where the lights were. I had no idea what to do. So I stayed still, and sobbed.
The minutes seemed like days. He left me! He forgot about me! How could he???
Those were the only thoughts I had. Time stood still.
In my mind, an eternity passed. The light continued to fade and it was getting dark. I did not like to be in the dark. At all.
And then I saw it. A bright yellow truck. Racing around the corner and flying into the parking lot. Skidding to a stop in front of the patio doors.
He jumped out of the truck. His worried face tense with emotion. He saw me and his eyes lit up. I was safe.
He pulled me into a huge hug, telling me over and over how sorry he was that he had forgotten I was there. Although I was frightened and a little angry at him for leaving me, I also felt relief. I had been found. I was not forgotten.
While we often joked about this as I grew older, this is one of the few memories I have from that time in my childhood. It impacted me. Fear looks different now, and instead of curling up in a ball and crying, I work to face it head on.
What about you? Do you remember your first fear? How has it impacted you?
It’s a series about people like you and me, who decided to do something different.
They decided to change their life, or the lives of others around them.
They are inspiring.
They are making an impact right where they are.
They are passionate.
They are full of life.
And they are willing to share their stories.
I am excited to introduce you to Karen Putz. Her story is so amazing, and her never quit attitude is contagious. Karen is a speaker, writer, barefoot waterskier and mom. You can check out her website or follow her on Twitter. Before you read our interview, check out this amazing video of her story.
Tammy: What was your biggest challenge before starting to ski again?
Karen: My biggest challenge: I was overweight, out-of-shape and a little bit anxious about the possibility of losing the last bit of hearing I had left should I take another hard fall. Plus, I didn’t relish the idea of getting into a lake where alligators reside!
Tammy: How has your life changed by continuing to do what you love?
Karen: My life has done a complete 180. I have met so many wonderful, amazing people as a result of unwrapping my passion again. There’s a quote by Joseph Campbell that explains this perfectly:
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.”
Let me give you an example of this. Two years ago, I took the Passion Test (www.tinyurl.com/urpassion) and my number one passion was to be able to barefoot water ski all year around. At first, I wondered how in the world that was going to happen as the lakes in Chicago are frozen during the winter. But by writing down my dream and putting that vision in my mind, little by little, it began to come true. People popped up into my life and offered to pull me. Opportunities and funding came up from several sources. As a result, I ended up barefooting 11 months out of the entire year!
Tammy: What would you say to someone who is stuck in ordinary,and doesn’t think their dream matters?
Karen: It is so easy to become complacent with life and get wrapped up in the day-to-day living. So many of us have bought into the “American dream” — a dream that might not really be “our” dream–so we forget what brings us joy or our dreams become buried in mediocrity. (Tweet that!)
When you get into a place where you feel “stuck,” that’s a sign to take some time and rethink the path you’re on and come up with new visions, new goals. Read some new books, learn new skills, surround yourself with people who you can learn from or those who can mentor you. You were born with unique gifts, talents and abilities– there is no one else in the world who is just like you. So dig down deep and unwrap the passion you have within you– I promise you, it is there. The result is a life filled with joy!
Tammy: What are you currently working on?
Karen: I’m currently working on my fifth book and I have several more in the works. I love being an entrepreneur and creating my own income. I also work for a non-profit, Hands & Voices (www.handsandvoices.org)– an organization which I’m fiercely passionate about. Thanks to several sponsors, I am able to train at the World Barefoot Center and indulge in barefoot water skiing on a year-round basis.
Thank you, Karen, for spending some time with us. Your story is amazing and one that inspires me.
What are you passionate about? Share in the comments.
Maybe it’s a family symbol, or something that has helped you through a tough time.
My Dad loved sunsets. He loved to photograph them. I don’t really know if there was ever a meaning behind it for him, or if he just appreciated the beauty of it. I love sunsets because they remind me of him and also of the beauty in the world.
I know others who have gotten tattoos of their symbols and it gives them strength.
For me, the tree has been something that has been very symbolic for me as I’ve gotten older. I’ve always been a pretty strong person. I’m responsible, difficult to ruffle, and my roots are strong. Those things are characteristic of a healthy tree.
It made sense to me why this symbol resonated with me. However, a few years ago, I started to get discouraged by being the tree.
Why do I always have to be the strong one?
I felt like people were constantly climbing on me, and sometimes it just got overwhelming.
Then, I heard a teaching by Jeanne Stevens that really hit home with me. She was talking about the story of Zaccheus. I’ve heard the story a million times, but she said something unique that felt like it was directly for me.
Sometimes, you have to be a tree, so that other people can climb up on you to see Jesus. (Tweet that!)
That really changed my perspective. It was like a breath of fresh air. Sometimes it feels like we can get walked on and climbed on and taken advantage of. But when we reframe that and see that people need us to help them see Jesus, that changes everything.