I’ve been working in radio my entire adult life. My first internship was at WPST in Trenton, NJ the summer between my freshman and sophomore years in college. It was AWESOME. Let me mention that WPST was THE station. A 50,000 watt station in between NY and Philadelphia. I was 19 and that summer set the coarse for my life. The people who worked there are still such special people in my life. I could never say enough about them. They showed me the ropes and more importantly inspired me. They took the time to teach, to include and to encourage. Tom Taylor told me “some 19 year olds are 19 and some are Dwight Gooden.” Jay Sorensen left me in the on air studio by myself and told me it was up to me to make sure there was no dead air when the song that was playing ran out. Tom Cunningham showed me how to go about my business quietly and with confidence. Mark Sheppard and I came from the same high school in stickville, NJ and was proof we could do big things. And then there was Trish Merelo. She’s only a few years older than me and had just landed at WPST. She taught me about having so much fun doing what you’re doing. She made me laugh all the time. ALL THE TIME. She showed me it was possible to be soooo good, so fun and so real. I still think about her when I hear Depeche Mode.
I love all those people and what they did for me with or without knowing.
And that brings me here, 34 years later.
In January of this year, was a little tough. I was wrestling with what my next “thing” should be. I was caught in the winter blues. I was missing things that maybe never even existed…the big “what ifs.”
Then it happened. I was driving to work on an early Wednesday morning…and by early I mean I’m driving between 5:30am and 6:15am. I was about 5 miles away from the radio station I work at these days (Star 99.1), on a two lane windy, hilly road. Over the hill in front of me were two headlights in the other lane. And all of a sudden, there were four. I remember actually blinking my eyes and shaking my head like you see in cartoons to try to get my vision right again. It wasn’t my vision that was the problem. Someone chose to pass a van, on a two lane road, on a hill and a blind curve. He was coming right at me and was right in front of me. I SAW….I’m not even kidding…. I SAW the headlights go
There was no time to react. It happened that fast. That pickup truck didn’t hit me. I’m telling you the ONLY explanation is that God intervened. I got chills as I wrote that. God saved me again that day. As I continued my drive, my heart was not pounding, my hands were not shaking. I simply continued on my way. Like I was watching a freaking movie. When I parked in the station lot a few minutes later, my legs were barely strong enough to hold me up when I got out of the car. The reality that I should have been killed in a horrific car accident but instead, the oncoming pickup truck passed right through me was too much.
Then a phrase that had come up so many times between me and my pastor and friend, Richard Gay, exploded in my head: “This is not about YOU.”
The “this” in that sentence had meant different things through my life, but now it was clear: “This — LIFE — is not about ME.” I connected millions of dots in that moment. I thought about all the times in my life that someone else had lived by that sentence that had been in my head and chose…CHOSE to teach ME, sacrifice for ME, lead ME. They chose ME. They knew it wasn’t about them. And now I finally know it’s not about me.
My next move was clearer. To be a coach, to be a mentor, to stop being so selfish and share what life has taught me in the conventional and unconventional sense.
What that looks like is still being thought out and planned. But that’s the IT. God told me that day in January that he still had work for me to do and I better start paying attention. I’m sure he tapped me on the shoulder many, many times before that day, but I wasn’t listening. He had to do something to make sure I didn’t miss it this time.
I can still see those headlights going right through me. I won’t ever forget them.
Stick with me on this journey. I’m going to tap on more than a few shoulders to hopefully help, inspire and teach people what they need to learn so that no one has to be woken up by headlights passing right through them.