I’m a man on a mission, but where am I going?

That’s a question I asked myself this morning as I sat down to write my almost-weekly contribution to this space.

I started writing this column in 2009. I’ve had something in this space pretty much on a weekly basis since then, except for the time I tried and failed at retirement.

I don’t want to just fill space, I want what I write to serve some purpose.

But what is my purpose? Where am I going? What better time to ask and answer those questions than right now – the first column of a new year?

First of all – and, yes, this is important to me – I write for me.

On a weekly basis, I write some news stories that cause me some pain. There are some that I had rather not write, but I’ve got to do it, and I do. I believe this illustrates that even the news business is – at times – a lot like work.

There’s only one place in this paper I can pick and choose and it’s right here in this space. I call this my recreational writing.  I enjoy writing this column. I have fun. It’s therapy of sorts. I laugh at myself. I take myself to some other emotional destinations with what I think about and write about.

What I write for this space is what I want to write. Nobody tells me what to write about. It’s my choice.

If anybody at all helps me along the way, it’s wife Becky.  I tell her on a weekly basis what I’m going to write about and then I read it to her after I write it. If she has any suggestion at all, I listen. I’ve learned – after almost 48 years of marriage – that I’m a much smarter man if I listen to what my wife has to say.

From the very beginning years ago, I believe I wrote in this space that I want to make people smile – better yet laugh out loud. There are times when I want to bring a tear to your eye – not a sad tear, but a happy tear. And I want to encourage people.

I try to accomplish everything – to accomplish my mission – by writing about the events of life.  If something happens in my life and if I consider it noteworthy, then you’re likely to read about it here.

Now, let me tell you something about me. I don’t like people to laugh at me. What I really like however, is for people to laugh with me. If any laughing is going to be done, please let it start with me.

For example, remember the time that wife Becky and I arrived at a church social event during our early years of marriage with a bowl of potato salad on top of our car?

Remember the time I wrote that Becky and I were driving down Ralph Hall Boulevard in Rockwall and we suddenly thought we were in a confetti parade? The confetti that I saw in my rearview mirror just happened to be little pieces of paper that had been in my wallet. And why were these little pieces of paper flying in the air? Yes, somehow, Jim – that would be me – had left his wallet on top of his car after shopping at Costco.

Sometimes, I can only provide a two-word response to my events of life: “Oh, me.”

Do you get the idea? I’m hopeful that I just made somebody smile or laugh. What about encouraged? I know some people are encouraged by what I write because they realize they are not alone. Other people – especially this one – are quite capable of committing acts that are pretty high on the wackiness scale. Wackiness loves company. Right?

Sometimes I may go overboard with silly. That’s usually when Becky reels me back in and gently gives me some advice I need to hear.

I started to write that if I make any change at all, maybe I will use a serious tone a little more often. Nope, not gonna do it. I want to continue to take a light look at life. If you want serious, there are way too many other places you can go to read and hear deep thoughts.

Yes, there will be times for a serious tone, but my mission is to deliver some laughter.

If laughter is good medicine, then I want to deliver a weekly dose.

I like what Proverbs 17:22 says: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” Or in other words – contemporary language from The Message Bible – “A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.”

Cheers to your health.


Jim Hardin may be reached at jhardin@heraldbanner.com.