I've heard over and over again how difficult things are that are worth it or important. Our dreams fall into that category for sure. Things that are worthwhile in life usually don't come easy. That's what makes the so worthwhile to us.
Sam has been right on target with his insights ever since I started listening to him and following him almost 7 years ago. This one is no exception.
The tragedy part is the thing that is connecting with me more and more recently. One part has to do with me not putting in the effort to get things going on my dreams. The time that has gone by in my life. The fact that I have not believed in myself like I should have along with the fact that I probably have more yesterdays that I have tomorrows.
Two instances recently have helped to drive this quote home too. My father-in-law just turned 80 this month. We had a big family party. He really enjoyed his day, especially his birthday cake. The thing is, he's battling a number of health issues and it's difficult to see my wife and her siblings handle all of this that is going on. It's equally difficult watching my mother-in-law go through a less severe health issue that is keeping her from getting around temporarily along with trying to be there to help her husband. I think about all the dreams and goals that he has had during his lifetime. He's a career educator being a high school teacher and counselor. I know for a fact that he made a HUGE difference with many people throughout his career.
The other instance was while I was visiting my father-in-law in the hospital, he had a roommate in his room for a few days. This man was 90 years old and I listened to him tell stories and give advice to his many visitors the couple of times I was there. This guy was a spark-plug with having his mind in tact along with I could tell he lead a good life so far with all the stories tied into leadership, success and life principles.
On my recent visit, my mother-in-law was talking to him as I guess she talked with him and his wife a lot since she spent most of her days there. This time I got up the guts to say something to this man. To wish him well along with thanking him for the lessons learned in overhearing his conversations while sitting there. He had a big smile on his face. He held out his hand when I introduced myself to him. He asked what I did and I told him I was a high school business teacher. He smiled even more. He said he could tell that I liked what I did along with being good at it. (I humbly thanked him) He worked as a controller for some major companies in his lifetime – something I picked up during his conversations with others.
He told me a couple of things. One was to always use two words in life with others – Thank You! He said having a grateful and thankful heart was a key to life. He also gave me two book titles to read and I wrote them down and I told him I would get these books and read them. One was "The Boys in the Boat" - dealing with 9 Americans and their quest for Gold in the 1936 Olympics. The other book was "Team of Rivals" that was about the political genius of Abraham Lincoln. This man told me that he knew he was on his way out but that he had a few things to tell people first. My wife was there a few times too and she told me that he was thanking everyone that came to visit him for their friendship and kindness throughout his life.
When I picked up my mother-in-law at the hospital the other evening, I saw her talking to this man's wife and they were hugging. He had just died an hour or so before that evening. I could see both the sadness and relief in the woman's eyes. But it also made me remember the quick conversation I had with him just two days before. I thought about the changes that I have to make in my life. I thought about how this man seemed to have gone after many of his dreams and goals, but I also wondered about those that he didn't, and how that made him feel here at the end of his life. I also thought about things Sam has been saying for all the years I've been listening to him. They are both right and I need to do some things now that I've been putting off for far too long. I am very thankful for both of these fellas and the lessons that I've learned. Do these lessons connect with you too I hope?