Tom’s influence

This week was a bittersweet one.  And it caught me by surprise.  My friend Tom, aka “Black Lavender”, is leaving Louisville to take a ministry in my hometown, Wichita.  And while I knew that I would miss my friend and co-worker, I didn’t realize until towards the end of the week just how much of an influence Tom had on me.  I met Tom when he was a High School sponsor at Northeast and over the years he got more and more involved in the life of the church and about 2 ½ years ago he came on staff as the Guest Services Director.  It became very normal for me to have Tom around, to go to lunch with him, to make a joke with him, etc… – it became a regular part of my life to have Tom around.


So as we said goodbye to Tom, I found myself thinking a little and I realized that because of Tom, I prefer local places to eat lunch and usually end up spending a little less on lunch.  Because of Tom, I use cheapcycle on yahoo, pay more attention to parking spots, know more about poker (I still know VERY little) – realistically, I’ll probably end up finding even more ways in which Tom influenced me after he leaves.


And here’s the thing: I doubt Tom ever purposely decided to “impact” me, and I never really sat down and decided to “become” more like Tom.  Nobody will ever call me a clone of Tom, but some of him has rubbed off on me, and I’m grateful for it.  I don’t have access to studies and research data like the Seth Godins and Malcolm Gladwells of the world but I wonder is real influence is just as much about subtlety as it is about purpose.


There is no doubt that I will miss Tom, his wit, his work ethic, and especially his friendship.  Tom will do a great job in his new role and ministry.  And as he’s leaving he’s made me think about the ways in which he influenced me, and even how in turn, I influence others.  How much of an influence do I have on the people I’m just “around”?  Is my influence good/beneficial like Tom’s has been?  I hope so.



About jonathanwren
My name is Jon. I like history, K-State, trying to be a good runner, and am a below-average skier.

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