Tommy

A GOOD MAN – There is much to be learned from the way Tommy Hall has dealt with the unimaginably difficult hand life has played him over the past several years.

What right do I have to complain? 

I mean, really, who do I think I am?

I’m healthy, relatively young – 29 is young, right? – and I’m even about get married.

I live in a beautiful mountain town with virtually no humidity (a real blessing, especially after coming from Texas). I can walk to work, as well as numerous restaurants and breweries, and I’m fortunate enough to have a fiance who puts up with my major and minor quirks, from inevitable bouts of forgetfulness to chewing with my mouth open.

The latter of which, I admit, is so annoying. 

Yet when some minor inconvenience crops up – if I get stuck in traffic for all of two minutes or if my puppy won’t stop sprinting around the apartment like a feral hyena – I start whining as though the universe has a specific vendetta against me and only me. 

For what reason would the powers that be – whatever it or they may be –single me out? What sense would that make? Indeed, what right do I have to complain? 

What sense would that make? Indeed, what right do I have to complain? 

Especially in light of what someone like Tommy Hall is dealing with.

A quick primer: Mr. Hall won a football state championship with Pisgah in 1966, is a long time member of the Pisgah Athletic Boosters, and – generally speaking – is a widely-respected and nearly larger-than-life figure within the Pisgah community. 

I wrote a story on Mr. Hall last week after he received the Cline Service Award at the Pisgah Drawdown. It was a nice honor, that award, considering what Mr. Hall is currently going through.

Not only has he been diagnosed with cancer, but his wife of 40-plus years passed away last November from cancer, too.

Yet after talking with him at his Canton home for more than an hour – and hearing stories from family members and friends – it seems as though Mr. Hall complains less about his unimaginably trying  situation than I do about my minor inconveniences in my otherwise privileged existence.

By all accounts, Mr. Hall is standing up to the most difficult of struggles with  grace and nobility. Instead of feeling sorry for himself – and he certainly has every right to do so – he’s focusing on doing what he can to get better. 

Instead of griping, he’s counting his blessings. 

As his son, Anthony Hall, put it: “He has a tumor on his brain stem, I mean, who else is not complaining and accepting awards? It’s simply amazing.”

To be clear, I’m not claiming that griping doesn’t have its place. Venting is healthy – necessary, even – in moderation.

But maybe I could stand to pull the woe-is-me card a little less frequently. Maybe keeping a clearer focus on the wonderful things in my life would result in a happier existence.

Maybe I should try to be a little bit more like Tommy Hall.

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