I was the 4th of 4 children. I am Fred & Terry Wilder's son. I am Shannon and Erin's youngest brother. I am Nathan's only brother. I am one of Will, Lauren, and Sarah Mickler's cousins. I am a nephew of Gil & Debbie Davis, and Bill & Julie Mickler. I am the grandson of Helen & Foster Davis, and Fred & Thelma Wilder.
When I moved to Nashville, I became Ben Wilder.
No longer someone's brother or cousin or son or nephew. People know me as Ben Wilder and what those people know of me is not based on anyone else but me. I can't even begin to explain how much freedom there has been since I stepped out of any shadow I was in. That's what Nashville and Tennessee mean to me. This city is forever a symbol to me of personal freedom, of taking on challenges, of making a life on my own. I am continuing to find my own identity here, a journey that started the day I packed my things and left Florida. If you ever wonder why I love Nashville so much, mostly it's because I feel like it's mine. Not my brother's, not my sister's, no one else's but mine! It's part of my adventure that I will treasure for the rest of my life.
Think about what you treasure deep in your heart, secrets only shared between you and God, gifts he's given you, blessings that only you know, the things that make your heart melt, events that affect your life. Well, something happened when I moved to Nashville, it's like a veil was slowly removed and I've been able to see me for the first time. I began to understand more about myself. To see me more how God sees me, as a unique creation that he loves. I slowly stopped comparing myself to my brother, and I think, for the first time, not be in his shadow. Funny thing about shadows is that to have a shadow, there has to be a light and now I am in it. That's why it's easier to see myself differently than ever before. My life is turning out different than my brother's, than either of my sister's, and unlike my cousins. And that is ok! In fact, it's awesome!
I have my own shadow now. If you want to see my shadow, it's in Nashville, Tennessee.