Tuesday night at the Boy Scouts after the Court of Honor ceremony, snacks were being served. From across the room, the tray of dry cookies choked on sight–but wait: a tiered pyramid of Hershey’s milk chocolate bars—my favorite!! I love milk chocolate! I threaded my way through the crowd, acting polite and feigning interest in others whilst single-mindedly pursuing my sweets—but when I approached the table, though there were still plenty of dry cookies, only ONE Hershey chocolate bar remained…and two little uniformed scouts in front of me. What to do? Restrain myself to take turn in proper sequence? Or plow thru the little nippers and snag the sweet?
Month: May 2015
Note: this post originally published on http://thegangmagazine.com/
Bronnie Ware worked in end-of-life care for the elderly. Her patients were those who had come home to die. She was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.
She had many special moments with them; and when she asked them about any regrets they had or anything they would have done differently, she heard the same two things over and over again.
The number one most common regret of people on their deathbed…
You want to talk spiritual truths? It’s not that complicated. Jesus said everything flows from two major principles: Love God as our Father, and Love our Neighbors as ourselves.
I think complication stems from the power-hungry, those who want to exert control over others and gain control for themselves. —not gain control ‘of’ themselves, but ‘for’ themselves.
Here’s their formula.
1. Complicate truths.
2. Dictate those truths as mandatory for well-being.
3. Promote themselves as sole purveyors of those truths.
4. Sign people up as their disciples.
‘Hey wait a second’, you say, ‘are you simple-minded? it’s not that simple, life is complicated.’
Yes, life can be complicated, and yes there are complexities. But many foundational truths are not complicated. As my daughter one said, quoting I don’t who: The world is shallow and complex; God is simple and deep.
How complicated is Love? How complex is it to care for others? —not that I hold myself up as an example…so let’s look at Mother Theresa. She kept it very, very simple. Very direct. She Loved people by caring for them in their passage of death. Her simplicity therefore was profound. She carried profound ballast, her words stung true, her essence unassailable.
So wrestle with the simple. Gain control over yourself. Love God as your Father, and Love your neighbor as yourself.
That person who stands at the crosswalk repeatedly pressing the chirping button to cross the street; and the crosswalk button that responds with benign neglect.
Why do we who have accomplished so little struggle with getting advice from a coach or mentor, when those who accomplish so much counsel regularly with a coach, a mentor, a board of advisors? why do we chisel ourselves out of wisdom? Why do we not invest in ourselves?
A young teen i know is reluctantly taking guitar lessons; he mopes along and neglects to apply himself. Maybe guitar isn’t his thing, I don’t know—but I wish to encourage him, because for me, the guitar has been a loyal, lifelong friend—and even during two long, lonely decades of neglect when i didn’t touch the instrument, my guitar waited faithfully in the corner.
Hard to believe I went so long without playing. An obsessive focus on Work took it’s toll.
Now that I’m back, here’s what I’ve found (remembered): There have been moments of sorrow, moments of loneliness, moments of regret, when yes, I have turned to God and He has helped in his inimitable way, as only He can muster recovery; and yet in those passages, found remarkable consolation with my good friend, the guitar. An avenue of expression, a channel of consolation, a valve of release, a spout for tears, a conduit of sorrows, a purge of emotion, —a lovely distraction, amiable alliance, tool of expression, isle of enjoyment, friend.
The guitar is my friend—and once again, yes once again—do not forget this, mister Dirk: it was GOD who reminded me to pick up the guitar after decades of neglect. God told me, ‘Not for fame nor profession—this is between you & me: just practice guitar’. And to the degree that I have obeyed God–my counsellor, mentor, my Father—to the degree that i have followed his advice, in direct proportion has my joy blossomed. Less than a month into practicing after decades of neglect, I sat upstairs in our tiled bathroom (love to play in that reverb room), —i sat playing with tears rolling my cheeks, choked up over the forgotten joy of ‘just practicing’, of playing my guitar.
I would be more fruitful if I followed Him more often. Even at my age, i am an apprentice—still seeking, still learning, still experiencing, still growing, still surprised and delighted by his thoughtful caring grace and guidance.
And so too for you: God loves you. And he likely has some type of guitar for you.
According to Alice Schroeder’s book, The Snowball, Warren Buffett addressed some students who asked him about his greatest success and his greatest failure.
Buffett replied: “When you get to my age, you’ll really measure your success in life by how many of the people you want to have love you actually do love you. I know people who have a lot of money, and they get testimonial dinners and they get hospital wings named after them. But the truth is that nobody in the world loves them. If you get to my age in life and nobody thinks well of you, I don’t care how big your bank account is, your life is a disaster.
“That’s the ultimate test of how you have lived your life. The trouble with love is that you can’t buy it. You can buy sex. You can buy testimonial dinners. You can buy pamphlets that say how wonderful you are. But the only way to get love is to be lovable. It’s very irritating if you have a lot of money. You’d like to think you could write a check: I’ll buy a million dollars’ worth of love. But it doesn’t work that way. The more you give love away, the more you get.”
—from William Green on LinkedIn, author of ‘The Great Minds of Investing’
“It’s very important,” said Buffett, “always to live your life by an inner scorecard, not an outer scorecard.”
What does that mean?
Buffett illustrated this by asking: “Would you prefer to be considered the best lover in the world and know privately that you’re the worst—or would you prefer to know privately that you’re the best lover in the world, but be considered the worst?”
Christ stood next to the condemned adulteress and said to the mob, “Let he who is without sin be the first to cast a stone”.
A disciple complained, “Oh Jesus, you always get to go first!”