An Unexpected Blessing

Posted by Jim Gunshinan on May 27, 2015
An Unexpected Blessing
Notice I have a pretty cushy office compared to most of you. Not exactly an attic or crawlspace. (Photo by Macie Melendez)

When I received an email from Larry Zarker of BPI, informing me that I had been inducted into the BPI Building Performance Hall of Fame, I thought it must be a big mistake. Then I looked at the list of previous inductees and was sure it was a mistake! I haven’t even done a blower door test all by myself. I don’t do home performance work, I just write about it and help those who do the real work write about it.

I wrote back to Larry explaining my surprise and he let me know that it wasn’t a mistake. Surprise became embarrassment—I could count dozens of people who should be on the list before me. Then embarrassment led to gratitude.

I realized that my job is not to do building science research, consulting, or building performance work. My job as editor of Home Energy is to help you do your jobs; help you pass on your hard earned wisdom to the rest of the home performance community through the pages of the magazine. And often I am moved to praise you for the work you are doing, to support you, and in the hope that the rest of the world is paying attention. When others see the work you are doing and experience the passion you have doing it they may decide to join in our efforts to create great homes for everyone.

I’ve written about my previous careers as an engineer doing research and as a Church minister. My third—and hopefully final—career as a writer and editor began when I started as an editorial assistant at Home Energy about 15 years ago. I was 41 years old at the time and pretty soon I’ll be 56. Anyone over the age of 50 knows the occasional feeling of regret; the feeling that we should have done more with our lives, or that we wasted years doing things that in the end have no lasting value. I’ve had those feelings in triplicate!

I am grateful to my peers—all of you—for selecting me to be among my betters in the Building Performance Hall of Fame. You let me know by doing so that I have made a difference; a positive difference. I am still working through some regrets, but I can see some light now going all the way back to my first career. As a former engineer, I know the science enough to help you write articles; I can mostly find the right questions to ask during the process of getting an article ready for publication. As a minister I learned a lot about the good stuff inside each of us that we often hide—passion, beauty, goodness, and love. Part of my job as an editor is to let those great qualities shine between the lines of your writing.

I’m glad I’m part of this community and that I have been a help to some of you. Thank you so much for the good work you do, and for letting me know you value my work. Oh, one more thing. I’m pretty sure that being inducted into the Hall of Fame doesn’t mean I have to retire soon. Right?

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