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  • Shelly Elliott

One Life to Live- Live Your Passion


Last month, I experienced another first with my cheg graduating class. This first, however, is something I wish won’t ever be repeated, but I know that it will and that it must. This first was the first loss of a classmate, a classmate who one year ago was a happy and seemingly healthy 26-year old young man that had so much ahead of him. To anyone of us here on this earth, it would appear that Brett Ensor had his whole life ahead of him. But only one, The One, knew that 365 days later, He would be in his eternal home.

Brett was the kind of guy that put a smile on everyone’s face and happiness in everyone’s heart. He was fun and goofy but so genuine and caring. He was the kind of guy you want your daughter to bring home. Hearing family and friends tell stories about him show just how much of an impact he had on those of us fortunate to know him. He was incredibly talented, blending his chemical engineering degree with his passion and true gift for music as a project manager with Conn-Selmer, Inc., the largest musical instrument manufacturer in the United States. He was a bad-ass sax player and musician.

When I heard the news, I was in shock. Though we hadn’t talked in a couple years, when I got home, I lost it. How could someone so young, full of life, and talented be taken from this earth at such a young age? It didn’t seem real. It brings to the forefront so many recurring questions and thoughts that often creep up when someone experiences loss. The Why him? Why now? It’s not fair. Why does God let things like this happen?

I don’t have the answers. Only He does. As hard as it is, I’ve come to realize that it’s not fair for me to ask Him why, but instead accept that it is His will and trust His will. Take time to grieve, but recognize that person is at peace and think about what that person has taught you.

Thinking about my experiences with Brett, he taught me that it doesn’t cost anything to smile, but can be worth a million dollars to someone who feels invisible when you flash a smile in their direction. Reflecting on his experience post-college, he was able to turn both his passion and talent for music into a career. In theory, that’s something that many people strive for, but very few obtain. Brett did it, and he did it right after he finished his master’s degree. That says a lot about him, his dedication to his love of music and engineering, his unwillingness to settle for just any job, and his relentless pursuit.

In today’s world, it’s easy and often the “norm” from mainstream media to define success in terms of how big your house is, the kind of car you drive, your title at work, and such. This endorses, in my opinion, an incomplete and shallow view of the whole person. Morrie Schwartz from Tuesday’s with Morrie by Mitch Albom said, “Maybe death is the great equalizer…” My Pap, Vince Burkhart, before this book came out had a slightly different and more crude take on death, saying “You go out of this world just like you came in, bare ass and broke.” Truthfully, none of us are getting out of this life alive. It can be a morbid thought; but I challenge you to let it motive you to be your best and inspire you to pursue your dreams and things that truly matter to make this world a better place.


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© 2020 by Shelly Elliott.

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