Today, I have a few catch up items that I want to share (and, no, I won’t start with pandemic items):
- Legacy – I have been reading a book recently by Chris Brady titled PAiLS. Brady subtitles the book, “20 years from now, what will you wish you had done today?” The book spends a significant share talking about our legacy. Brady says that our legacy is everything we leave behind, such as material goods (things, money, etc.), memories (both good and bad), and the lasting impact we had on others. I have to admit that I often consider the first two categories of Brady’s definition. However, I had given little thought to the “legacy of impact” that lasts beyond our lives. When we are gone, will we leave behind us a world better than it was before our arrival? Are there individuals that will talk about what they learned from us? Will there be some that say, “He is the one that believed in me and gave me a chance when no one else would.” Have we developed leaders that have developed other leaders? Will our lives be an example to others to do the right thing even when it was difficult, unpopular, or costly? Think about what you’ll leave behind other than you worldly goods and genetic code.
- Last times – I have experienced a few “last times” in recent months. Some of these have come with great sadness. For example, our family said our last good byes to two special ladies recently. We had to break a 36 year Memorial Day Weekend tradition with no chance to resume in future years… at least in the same way. Sometimes that last time comes suddenly and unexpectedly. The last day of school this year is a good example of that. How do you respond when you experience a “last time”? Do you despair or look at it as the end of one chapter which leads to new experiences in the next chapter? I’ve heard it said that almost everyone needs healing from the past, help in the present, and hope for the future. Finding a way to honor the past, find joy in the present, and look confidently to the future is, in my experience, the best way to deal with the last times we constantly face.
- Observations from pandemic times – OK, now I get to join hundreds or thousands of others in sharing some of my own observations from our ongoing pandemic experience. Here are a few of the things I think (or hope) that we have learned over the last few months:
- We cannot assume anything – Back in mid-March, everyone had plans. Some were preparing for school proms, graduations, vacations, work projects, events with family. We all just assumed that everyday activities, such as school, would continue. However, as we have learned, we cannot take anything for granted. We cannot assume that we’ll continue to be able to do the things we enjoy or expect. Life is just that way and this pandemic season has taught us that in a huge way. We need to realize that each new day is a gift. No one is promised tomorrow. So, we need to approach each day as the special thing that it is.
- We don’t need to be productive every minute of every day – I wonder how many more jigsaw puzzles have been completed this year compared to 2019. I know that we have completed a few at our house. I think that before the pandemic, we believed that our time was simply too valuable to do something as trivial as a jigsaw puzzle. We had to be productive to fully utilize each day, whether that was being consumed by work, racing to events for our children, or wearing ourselves out checking off our to-do list items. The pandemic changed all that and, at least in this one small area, I think we can be thankful for this reminder. Once in awhile, it is perfectly fine to set other seemingly higher priority activities aside to read a book, watch a TV show, play with our children/grandchildren, try something new, or simply enjoy the outdoor world around us.
- We don’t know what others are experiencing, so we need to exhibit grace – Everyone is experiencing our season of pandemic differently. To some, it has been a time of severe loss (family members, jobs, our sense of security, our comfort zone). To others, it has been a time of frustration, sadness, and even anger. To others, it has been a time to catch up on activities you never really expected to do. The point is that everyone is experiencing something completely new. And, because we just cannot fully know what life has thrown at others, we need to react with a larger dose of grace. We need to be people of second chances. We need to give others a break and leave our judgment aside. Kindness is always appreciated and can possibly mean the difference between happiness or utter disappointment for someone else. Seals and Croft sang a song in the 1970’s called, “We may never pass this way again.” For us, this season may be the opportunity for a lifetime, so let’s make the most of it, especially when we have the ability to serve someone else.
- We must not take things for granted – This really goes without saying. Who would have thought that life would be forever changed for everyone over the course of a couple months. There is so much to mourn… if we get bogged down in the past. The best way to deal with our discouragement, disappointment, and disruption is to savor those little things and those people that make life truly worthwhile.
- Personal note – Last month I indicated that my book “Achieving your best day yet: A more fulfilling career… a more impactful life” had been published. At that time, only the hard copy version was available on Amazon. Now, you can also obtain the book in Kindle format. If you are interested, the link to the Amazon page can be found here: Achieving your best day yet! (Kindle version)
That’s it for now. Have a great day and remember… today could be your best day yet… there is still a chance.