It has been a gut-wrenching week for our family. My cousin, just 37 years of age, had his third heart attack in three months. His life is hanging in the balance as we anticipate open heart surgery this week. His condition is serious, and we do not know the outcome. Selfishly, perhaps, we pray he will be with us for a good long time, but we just do not know.
What impressed upon my heart when he and I spoke was his clear perspective on life and what matters most. You won’t hear someone in his position talking about how much money they made or what kind of cars they have driven. If you listen closely to the things they talk about, they will tell you, without exception, that what really matters are RELATIONSHIPS.
1. Relationship with God
None of us would dare get on a plane without knowing its destination, yet we will bounce through life with little thought as to where we are going. This is the most important question you will ever have to answer: “Where is your final destination?” Knowing this one thing will give you greater comfort than anything else. It also provides a navigation map for a more meaningful life.
2. Relationship with Self
This is the “I” generation – it’s all about what “I” want. We even name our gadgets with an “i” – and admittedly, I have my share of “iGadgets”. But the irony of having the right relationship with ourselves is that it is really NOT about us. It’s about figuring out our purpose and passion in life in order to fulfill our part in the story of mankind. Gary Barkalow has an excellent series about finding your calling. He says, “There’s an epic story we’re living in.”
When people face life in clear perspective, they will talk of their true passion. You will hear them reveal that “one thing” they were created to do. They will speak in terms of being glad they had done it; or in terms of regret that they had not. But at that point in life, they will know what “it” is. It behooves all of us to search for our God-given passion and to live it as our story unfolds. It is His gift to us that we must find and give to the world.
Peace comes when our God-given passion is applied to purpose.
Have you ever done something and become lost in the moment? Maybe it’s an activity or something you’ve created, but it felt like in that moment, you were “connected” with a deep part of yourself and working hand-in-hand with God. Did you feel an incredible sense of peace? THAT is your passion. THAT is the relationship you must develop with yourself, because THAT is your unique connection to God and others.
Is there something you are supposed to do? An adventure you are to take? A book or a song you are to write? A painting you are to paint? A speech you are to give? A lesson you are to teach? If it is right, and you are compelled to follow a path, don’t ignore it. You have no idea where it may lead.
We each have a chapter in this book of mankind that is uniquely ours to write. Maybe it’s not a major part; but if we don’t write it, it will not be written.
3. Relationships with Others
If we were to rewind our lives and only play the highlights, I guarantee we would focus on our relationships with others. Those are our greatest treasures on this earth. In fact, if you think about it, almost everything we do is about those relationships. It’s not about the job, the house cleaning, the meal preparation – at their respective core, those things are really about nurturing relationships.
When all is said and done,
there is something in us that finds peace in knowing
we have made a difference in someone’s life.
For some people, this influence is with thousands; for others, perhaps, it is with just one person. If that is your chapter, it is just as important to write as the other, because you never know what that one person’s chapter will look like because of you.
Amazing things would happen if those of us living outside the boundaries of ICU looked at life with the incredible perspective of those on the inside.
Shawn, I don’t know what this week holds, but I do know one thing: either way, your heart gets fixed. You have written an important chapter to your world, perhaps just the beginning. And we are blessed because you have.