A friend of mine works out at the Arizona Renaissance Festival (ARF) and often talks about some of the people that perform out there. A few in particular he says have an Aura of Awesomeness. Yes, they are good performers, funny people, but it's deeper than that. Just by standing next to this person, he says, you feel like you can be a better person.
I've known people like that.
My music theory professor at ISU, Dr. John Ibberson, comes to mind. Dr. Doug Keiser, the marching band director there. Some of my own friends and family have this quality, too. You may have experienced it, but the effect can be so subtle that you may miss it. There are no blaring trumpets or beams of white light, no choirs singing praises. The moments can be fleeting and usually, I don't notice them until after they've passed.
What exactly is this elusive THING I'm talking about?
In my experience, an encounter with the Aura of Awesomeness occurs when you're near one of these people. You could be sitting in their class, their audience or you could be directly interacting with them in some way, but the outcome is usually the same. These people shine with goodness. Not saying they're saints, but there is some THING about them that exudes charisma, warmth and humility. Just by being near this person, I feel better about myself. Some of that light shines on me and I see myself (and those around me) for all their goodness, all their beautiful humanity and all that they have the potential to be. I see the good in myself and want to be a better person.
These people just make you feel GOOD by being around them.
This morning, I found out that Mr. Larry Hurt, one of the art teachers at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, Indiana passed away. I never had a class with Mr. Hurt. I think I had ONE day in homeroom with him or something. But he was a cornerstone of that school. Even though I didn't sit in art class with him, I knew him and had several friends who had been touched by him. I could sit here and tell you how many "Best Teacher" awards he won, I could tell you that he was active in his church... but instead, I have to tell you that this man had a light that shone brightly.
On one hand, I'm sad to see that fire go out.
But this morning, watching Facebook statuses light up with his name, messages of love for him, I feel that his life has not been snuffed out. It is being passed candle to candle. Some of his Aura of Awesomeness remains and from Boston to Phoenix to LA to Indy... people are remembering him now and all the good he did just by being Mr. Hurt.