So many of us want to hit that home run rather than be the runner on first base, even if we’re the run needed to win. We want to build huge monuments to ourselves or those who impress us, rather than work hard to do what’s important in life. We’d rather do the most coveted noticeable feats, or else do nothing at all. It’s hard to believe that living life to the fullest is simple, we live with a passion for kindness and helping others, and we be show our gratefulness for the life we’ve been given. Greatness is in the little things and those things are powerful enough to stand on its own.
I can’t count the number of people who have said, “Wow, you have really lived a full life. When your time on earth is up, the world won’t owe you a thing.” But, of course. The world never did, nor ever will, “owe” me anything.
But I know what they meant because during my life I have done many different things which were somewhat beyond what I thought I would ever do. Many things that, in retrospect, seem to have been a bit adventurous. At the time, I was just being me. I wasn’t trying to do or be anything else but ‘me’.
Some of what I’ve done might give the appearance that I lived a “full life”. But I believe that it isn’t the number of different things we do that determines the fullness of our lives. It’s really just that one thing we do. That one thing to which we’ve given the purest form of our self, unlike whatever we’ve given anything else, anywhere. And that one endeavor is so totally filled with the passion we have for living that we are emptied of anything and everything that is contrary to it. A full life is not a cigar box overflowing with trinkets, blue ribbons, medals, and yellowed edged newspaper clippings. For some of us, we have allowed the most precious use of our lives to be this gathering of differing artifacts and expect them to confirm this extraordinarily valuable life we say we’re living.
Actually none of that has much value, beyond the brief and shallow chance happenings, peculiar enough to catch the eye of those less experienced. These people to whom we show our trinkets just happen to be less concerned with what our vanities really mean to us. And so, with a bit of puffing, we think we can make our own little mustard seed of a life appear to be the size of the moon.
Before long, we begin to believe our own “Press”, and we, ourselves, are impressed with who we pretend to be. If we don’t catch ourselves early-on in the game we will find ourselves at the very end with nothing but a cigar box filled with worthless trinkets to be tossed out with yesterday’s news.
There is a real journey to make.
I believe an important part of life is defining and discovering what our personal journey is meant to be. It’s a shame though that so many people won’t stop showing off their “trinkets” long enough to set out on this more meaningful journey; and fewer yet, after having started, are able to make it to the end.
This is what James Michener says about this Journey:
James Michener wrote …
It’s like coming home to yourself at last.
For this is the journey that men make: It’s to find themselves.
If they fail at this, it doesn’t matter much what else they find.
Money, position, fame, many loves, even revenge ..
they all; are of little consequence,
and when the tickets are collected at the end of the ride,
they’re tossed into the bin marked failure.
But if a man happens to find himself —
if he knows what he can be depended upon to do,
the limits of his courage,
the positions from which he will no longer retreat,
the degree to which he can surrender his inner life to some woman,
the secret reservoirs of his determination,
the extent of his dedication,
the depth of his feeling for beauty,
his honest and unpostured goals —
he has found a mansion which he can inhabit with dignity
all the days of his life.
Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid … In my Father’s house are many mansions: … I go and prepare a place for you.” From the peace of knowing a place is being prepared for us, everything we do with passion can be done in a world where fear does not exist.
And, many of those, who find themselves in the passionate work of their own hands have found their mansion in which they can inhabit with dignity all the days of their lives.
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Whether it is doing beautiful landscape-quality gardening and interior design, Joan struggling to build genuine family values in a difficult setting Cynthia, extending the heart to touch the hearts of broken lives that are facing challenges Tracy, to be able to change course when reaching higher than your arm can stretch but never giving up Derek, or having pride for a labor of love on the lawn and in building a successful business and a home for the ones you love Bob.
They are finding their mansion to inhabit and it can be seen, not in what they do, but in the passion in which they do it. The world can actually see the house they’ve built.
It’s in the smile on their face, it’s in the confidence in their step and in the kindness of their heart when helping others find the mansion they will call home.
*** *** ***
The Lord gave me the gift of knowing that he is in the lives of my children and they are in good hands. God has taken hold of each one of them in a different way than the other. I see a spirit of strength in their lives, and have become aware that they have a good start with what, in time, will cause their lives to blossom into whatever they wish it to be. I won’t see that day, but I have seen the beginning of it… and I’m happy to know their day is on the way.
All children struggle with the passion to discover who they are and I believe my children will continue their struggle without losing site of what they can become. To get what you want, right on the heels of deciding what that is, requires a sacrifice that takes a great deal of courage, and I see now, my children have that courage.
Whatever I did, or didn’t do, whatever can or cannot be done, whatever input I may or may not have had in the construction of their lives, there comes the day that our children must take control and answer for their own lives. Beyond the disappointment, anger, disapproval, rage or whatever feelings anyone else in this world has caused them, the only thing that really matters is what’s standing at their core … the decisions that they must make, the tears and laughter that they must suffer, the life that must be lived by them … the stuff that really counts has always been right there in their heart, it’s theirs to do with as they choose.
Once you are free from the meaningless distractions of this world, you will drop your jaw and stand in awe with wide-eyed amazement as you come to realize that your life is yours and only yours.
Your life is yours and you must live it and my prayer is that you live it well.