I just returned home from attending my high school reunion (I won’t say how many years, but it’s a lot!). It is always so strange to see people you haven’t seen in such a long time – especially people with whom you shared life during some of your most important formative years.
You realize, for the most part, that if we didn’t wear nametags (with our senior pictures) you wouldn’t even recognize most of these folks. You found yourself looking at the face, and then defining who you were looking at by the nametag. Those many years had brought some significant changes in appearance (the years tend to be unkind!).
But it was the interactions that I will remember most. You were able to catch up with the people with whom you spent a lot of your time. And for the most part, you became immediately aware of why you connected in the first place. Some people just hit it off – even after all these years.
But it was the other conversations that surprised me – with people that I barely knew (if at all). Discovering their recollections, their passions – their feelings about the course of their lives… Some reflected back upon all the good that had come their way – others spoke with a sense that life had been less than sweet. Their faces relayed the regrets, the remorse, the shattered dreams – the brokenness that comes when life doesn’t turn out the way you thought it would. You felt a genuine sadness, like a dark cloud hovering. Beyond the laughter and the smiling faces (in the moment) you just knew they were disappointed with life – and with themselves.
You ran into people that you just knew (back then) would be world-changers – but they never were. Then there were others that you just knew would be nothing more than a face in the crowd – but they became far more than any of us expected.
You come to realize that “success” is so often ill-defined – and is seldom predictable.
The one thing that I draw most from my weekend is that we all need to learn to live each day with these things in mind…
Live thankfully. Live intentionally. Live relationally. Live selflessly. Live purposely.
A successful life is never about what we take… it is always about what we give… and about what we receive with a thankful heart.
I am mindful that the most important thing we can ever do is to live as a source of hope and life to others – because you will always run into someone who needs what you have found.
After this weekend, I am so thankful for God’s rich blessings to my life. I have a wonderful home, a good job, a healthy family, plenty to eat, and the sense of God’s purpose in my life. I am loved by a beautiful woman. And each day I know I am held in the Hands of a kind and merciful God.
Sometimes we just need to be reminded that these things are the richest of blessings – and live in the wonder of the treasure of simple things cherished.