Teach us to number our days

29 02 2012

This week I will have officiated at 2 funerals. One was for a long life fully lived yet the final years were marked by illness. The other a tragic loss of a precious life snatched from the hands of death several years ago, cause of death yet unknown.  Each of these funerals had special lessons for me.

In my professional career I have attended and presided over many funerals.  Of all life events, funerals for me provide some of the richest insights into LIFE and living.  I know that sounds a bit strange. But consider this, in those brief moments family and friends spend together to reflect on the contributions and memories of a someone special to them you are granted an opportunity to see your own life in richest of ways.  If you have a listening ear your deepest soul will whisper to you of things that could change you forever for the better.

You may hear things concerning how you value your spouse, or your children.   Maybe that inner voice will ask you to evaluate your career.  Perhaps you will be told to finally get your Last Will and Testament done.  If you love your family,  you might be convicted to get that life insurance or long-term health care policy in place.    Maybe, you will decide to take that vacation you have always wanted or call your mom and dad.  Whatever you hear, listen well!  You may be changed forever for the better.

Moses said it this way,  – ‘So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12  and King David   – “LORD, make me to know my end And what is the extent of my days; Let me know how transient I am. Psalm 39:4.  By reflecting deeply on the passing of a life from this realm we can better live our own lives if we act on what we hear.  Life is but a vapor; live it well!

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Success

27 02 2012

In the American culture success is often defined in terms of monetary achievement, popularity, position or power.  I am not sure anyone really wants to be unsuccessful, but it would help if one had a sense of what success really is.  I am of course speaking of a general sense that my life has been meaningful and successful overall rather than in a moment or task.

Someone once said, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthwhile dream.” Another defines success as the journey not the destination!   Today I read, success is doing the best with what you have where you are! 

When I reflect on my life I measure success in terms of relationships more than I do achievements or monetary status.  The questions I ask to discover if I am on the road to success are similar to this. 

 “When I stand before God to give account for my life will I hear well done good and faithful servant?” 

 “If someone speaks to my wife after I am gone will she say that I was a loving  and supportive husband?  Did I contribute to her destiny or diminish her as a person?”

“Can my children look back upon our relationship and say that they were proud to have me as their dad?  Will they say of me that I built into their lives principles and values that made them productive and vibrate citizens of this world?”

“Will my friends and acquaintances remember me as one who added to their lives and encouraged them to be all they can be?  Will they be able to say they were better off for knowing me?”

“Will creation itself be better off for me being here?”

Sure I want monetary achievement.  I do not want to be poor or struggle to provide for my family the basics of life.  Neither do I want to be so preoccupied with earning a living that I miss out on the true meaning of Life.   I like the story  in the Bible when the lawyer questions Jesus about the greatest commandment in the Law.  Jesus replied to the question, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.   And the second is like it: ‘ Love your neighbor as yourself.’…”

What I have found in my life is being in right relationship with the Creator aligns me for right relationships with people and things.  I think the Book of Proverbs says it best, “The awesome respect of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom or knowledge.”  So living a sucessful life may be more about how we live then what we earn or achive.





Beauty-in the eye of the beholder?

6 02 2012

Beauty

Sunrise on Mount Haleakala, Maui on my 25th Anniversary. Standing in the dark in the chilled air of early morning waiting for the dawn with anticipation I began to ponder the essence of beauty. As we stood above the clouds at 10,000 ft the first beams of light came over the horizon. You could hear people gasp for breath as they were awe-struck. A wonderful quiet came over the onlookers as if to say, ” This moment of majesty should not be disturbed by trifling speech.” It was beautiful!

Sunrise- Mt. Haleakala, Maui

Beauty is radiant

In the course of living I have come to conclude that beauty is NOT in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is in fact not relative to ones own interpretation. Although there is some subjectivity to how one sees beauty, the essence of what is beautiful is unchanging. Creation reflects a beauty that is absolute. Because the human experience is enhanced by beauty and that which is beautiful, grasping essence of beauty becomes a worthwhile pursuit.

To be beautiful the essence of the thing must have beauty. Beauty is not a reflection it is a radiance, an out raying. Colors, sounds, words, thoughts, figures, and relationships all can be beautiful. Until I understood that creation and all it beauty carried a message I really never appreciated it. How we see beauty may differ but whether it is beautiful is not a question. If there is no beauty in it is not beautiful.

To be beautiful then one must have the essence of beauty within. An attractive thing with no beauty is not beautiful. I read a proverb once that said, ” As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout so is a beautiful woman who lacks discretion.” The appeal of form is not beautiful if there is no essence of beauty within.

If we discover BEAUTY then we can live in a BEAUTIFUL way.








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