“Enthusiasm is inspiration. When we see someone act enthusiastically, we are immediately drawn to them…. Life is often unpredictable and you may have little control over plenty of aspects along the way, but you choose your attitude and how you react to situations and people. Choosing to be enthusiastic will help you deal with tough situations and manage challenges more efficiently…. True enthusiasm spills over onto others…. (his) enthusiasm made others feel special and welcomed…. his ability to make people around him smile and share his enthusiasm…. always looked like he was having so much fun in everything he was doing…. If he’s having so much fun, you say to yourself, ‘I should lighten up and take things differently.’… He made other people feel good through his enthusiasm.… (his) fun was contagious. People want to be around you when you are that alive and it also makes people listen to you.… We are drawn to people who are intriguing and live their lives to the fullest.” EXCERPT from Don’t Give Up… Don’t Ever Give Up, The Inspiration of Jimmy V, by Spizman and Spizman
When I read these statements I could have sworn I was reading about Austin. That’s what Austin brought to those around him, to those whose lives he touched. They didn’t always know why they liked to be around Austin, they just knew they did.
I felt Austin’s absence over the past holidays, something was missing – it was the enthusiasm that only Austin could add. I would look around and see everyone chatting and laughing, but feel as though a special type laughter should be interspersed throughout the conversations (one unique to Austin) – but, of course, it never came.
This type of enthusiasm is not something that can be learned. It is a gift that Austin had and one he shared so generously, with so many. I have wonderful memories of times he would come visit, during the past couple years. He would be out with us one evening, meeting our friends, and of course Wes and Matt’s friends. The next day, at one of the youth football games, the boys’ friends would run up to Austin, hollering, “Auuustinnn! Hi Austin!” - as though they’d known him forever and were so excited to see him. Austin would smile and chuckle, saying, “Hey, how are you?”
The next thing I would see, is Austin going up to one of our friends, who he had just met the day before, smacking them on the back or shoulder and shaking their hand, saying, “Hey! How are you?” and then start chatting with them, like they’d been friends for a long time.
Austin had that impact on so many people. It didn’t matter how old or young they were, he just loved meeting them, striking up a conversation (or debate) - always laughing, always enjoying himself. It wasn’t unusual for his voice to get louder, as his excitement rose. He couldn’t help it, his enthusiasm was never quiet.
“Exuberance, Excitement, Energy, and Enthusiasm: the four E’s… people will be drawn to you and your energy. Living your life with enthusiasm will not only draw people to you, but you will also be a gift to those around you, infusing their lives with happiness. Your enthusiasm will be contagious. The four E’s are like magnets. They will draw people close to you without them even knowing it. They will be attracted to your personality and won’t even know why. All they will know is that they like to be around you and respect your passion and enthusiasm for life.” EXCERPT from Don’t Give Up… Don’t Ever Give Up, The Inspiration of Jimmy V, by Spizman and Spizman
I miss Austin’s Exuberance, Excitement, Energy, and Enthusiasm – which he shared in person or over the phone. And although he is not here to share it in person, I can still hear it in my mind and even sometimes in my dreams. It’s warm and genuine, making you want to laugh right along with him. His enthusiasm was contagious and I hope it lives on through all of his friends and family for years and years to come.
Thank you, Austin, for being you, for being who God made you to be, and for not being afraid to share it with all of us. Thank you for leaving part of yourself with us, in our memories and thoughts. You are a gift! Now it is our turn to share it with others…