Rogue #22: Barry Rice, Vietnam Veteran and Author

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Rogue #22: Barry Rice

vietnam veteran & author


This episode is the final installment of this series. Our journey kicked off in episode 1 with singer/songwriter Jordyn Shellhart - the youngest of all the rogues I spoke with, and today’s final episode introduces you to the oldest rogue featured on this series. This episode was my end game, and this guest ties our entire rogue exploration up in one beautiful bow. Barry Rice is a Vietnam Veteran - and lives everyday with the reminder of his time serving our country as he manages non-hotchkin’s lymphoma - which he contracted in Vietnam, as many did. Barry’s life was a winding road of chasing all the things that seem to be paired with what many call success - money, power…running from the things that make our rogue hearts beat, but that take a willingness to look into our own darkness. Barry felt rejected from the very beginning of his life - and that rejection drove him for most of his time on earth.   He was adopted. And today, we celebrate adoption. We welcome it - it’s normal and wonderful but when he was growing up, it wasn’t understood. So, Barry began life by being teased at the expense of others’ insecurities. And he concluded that not only was he rejected by his parents. He was rejected by God. He grew up thinking this way.

Barry is a true Rogue One. But in this case, “rogue” means more than just someone deciding they’re making their own path….in Barry’s case, “rogue” means he was wandering and lost for quite some time. Barry had a collegiate athletic scholarship - but, he flunked out of school with when he focused more on Fraternity parties than homework or basketball practices. Having grown up on a lake, Barry did what came naturally and got a job in Florida as a professional water skiier. He did this for a couple of years before getting perhaps the most life-changing piece of information a young man could receive in the 1960s…he was drafted to go to Vietnam. From there, Barry’s life was completely and utterly changed.

But - there is hope. Barry tells this story in full in his book, The Power and Blessings of a Sunrise. Barry eventually found joy. And that’s what being a rogue is all about.

It’s about joy. It’s about having a higher purpose. We believe that our efforts will be made greater. You and I, we follow rogue paths because we seek joy and fruitfulness and something beyond ourselves. We want to get to the end of our lives and consider our time on earth knowing we sought goodness - knowing there was more to life than Instagram feeds, or cars, or houses, or money. No - we know now in this moment that a rogue lifestyle is about seeking joy and things that are good, truthful, fruitful, and beautiful. For Barry and for many, including myself, this higher purpose is to live knowing we were created with purpose - and that this world has purpose because it was made by a being that deeply cares for us. This is Ultimately why I go rogue. 

My rogue friend - What is your purpose? 
Keep going rogue - and I’ll be right beside you. 

We’ll talk soon.
Leslie Eiler Thompson

P.S. You can follow along with my own rogue journey on instagram @leslieeilerthompson - give a holler and we can support each other along the way. 

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ABOUT The Rogue Ones Podcast:

This limited series lies in no-man’s land between an entrepreneurship and human interest podcast. Sometimes my remarkable guests want to talk business, sometimes they want to talk life. All of them want to share wisdom and encourage us to live remarkably while doing the things we are led toward.

My name is Leslie Eiler Thompson and I am the host and creator of The Rogue Ones podcast, in which I curate conversations with 22 extraordinary folks doing fascinating things - fearlessly living remarkable lives and deciding a straight path from point A to point B is boring. They’re going rogue. 

These rogues, all successful in their varied fields, openly share stories of failure, success, insecurity, lucky-breaks…and they are hand-picked for those who listen to the podcast series, desperately wishing to live with a bend toward the remarkable.

It’s my supposition that the most remarkable among us have found ways to bring their circumstances, character traits, and values together to build extraordinary realities. These people fascinate me - and I bet they fascinate you, too. By hearing these stories, we can adopt a rogue lifestyle with a bend toward the remarkable.

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Leslie Eiler Thompson