This morning as I wondered into the kitchen to get some coffee brewing, I realized something was missing. I have become accustomed to having three of my children–all teenagers at the moment–greet me in the morning with a nice long hug. We all seem to wake up slowly so there isn’t normally much conversation, but the embrace communicates more than words ever could. The morning before yesterday, all three of them headed north to volunteer their time for the summer at a Christian camp. Originally starting as an idea to teach them the importance of serving others; not only is it the greatest investment, but it also yields a tremendous return in both relationships and a feeling of satisfaction that your life is making a difference. Well, they followed my advice, and now I am missing them and all the little things that they add to my life just by their presence.
Isn’t it funny how we pursue so many different things in life, but when you stop and really consider what is important; it always comes down to relationships. My friend and mentor, Orrin Woodward, said that the greatest of all pains in life is relational pain. How true–whether it is in your relationship with God or people, when you are truly happy or when you are really hurting–it almost always comes down to a relationship issue. Therefore, it only makes sense to spend a consistent amount of time working on your relationship skills. One of the reasons I love the LIFE Community that I am a part of, is the focus on continual personal growth in your relationships–as well as other areas. Reading, listening to audios, and positive association is so helpful to keep refining your skills and learning to understand yourself and others.
I recently picked up a nugget from a pastor that put things into perspective. He said that we should ask ourselves and those closest to us, “What is it like to be on the other side of me?”. The first thing to realize is that you and I have never been there. We only have our own perspective to go off of. Therefore, if we really want to get insight into ourselves, we need to humble ourselves and ask others for their thoughts. This is not recommended if you don’t want to hear some things that may hurt your feelings. However, if you really want to get better, it will help you see yourself through someone else’s eyes. It is also beneficial to have a mentor who can direct you to the best resources to help you improve in the areas that you are weak. The thing to remember is that we are all on a journey through this life. Perfection is not attainable, but excellence is. The journey becomes much more exciting when you are working on improving yourself and strengthening the relationships around you.
As I realize that I will be missing some hugs and special times with some of my kids this summer, I also realize that I now have more time to enjoy my wife, my oldest son and his new bride, and the many new friends I will be making. Thanks to the association with the Team and the LIFE Community–and because of the Mental Fitness Challenge–I am coming in contact with a high-caliber group of people who want to improve their own lives and make a positive difference in the world around them. Who knows? Maybe this summer, I will meet one of my future best friends.