Reflections on the 56th anniversary of my nativity

I thought it might be worthwhile to pause and reflect a few moments on this day, one that culminates my first 56 years on this planet.  There have been a number of happy times and a few sad ones in 56 years, especially in the last year and I thought my reflection might be of value to someone who is not quite as far down the runway as I am.  Here goes:

  • All of life is a blessing.  I read from scripture daily and it is quite ironic that my verses this month are from the book of Job.  If you read the Bible, you will understand, but if you don’t, the book of Job is a series of episodes where a man is tested by the Devil and continues to praise God.  My life has been so much better than Job’s to this point, but I hope that I can continue to hold steadfast even through the challenging times as well as the good ones.  Job said it well when he said to the Devil, “You are talking like a foolish[b] woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”  (Job 2:10)
  • I am amazed at what I learn every day.  The amazement and the learning typically will come in the meeting and exchanging of information with someone that is put into my path.  How many times have I gone into a meeting wondering the purpose of my being there and then realizing what a blessing it has been to talk to and to get to know the person across the table from me.  Never take a meeting or conversation for granted.  You never know what you can learn from someone or how you can help them.
  • Children are great, especially when they become adults.  My wife and I have two adult sons who will both marry this summer.  The first of these weddings is just over two weeks away and it is a happy and tense time all at once.  Seeing the fine young men that both of my sons have become only makes me smile.  I can remember the days they were born just like they were yesterday.  There have been so many happy times with both of them; the ball games, the camping, backpacking and canoeing (did I mention they are both Eagle Scouts?) and seeing them become responsible young men who are giving back to their community.  I cannot wait to see what their next few years will hold.
  • Family is important.  I had the good fortune to grow up with relatives all around me and the bonds there are still strong even though I live hundreds of miles away from most of them.  The sadness comes from the fact that we typically only see one another now when one of us passes from this world.  My prayer is that each of them has that personal relationship with their Savior in order to pave the way for the next step.
  • Having dreams can be a great thing, but it also brings responsibility.  Ten years ago I had the dream to leave my paying job and enter the consulting world.  My wife and I talked and prayed about this for a long time and she has been with me every step of the way.  There have been good times and bad (read Job), but the highs have more than exceeded the lows.  Additionally, the people I have been able to surround myself with only make me a better and wiser person.  They each have the innate ability to keep me centered and are not afraid to tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear.
  • Say less and listen more.   This is a tough one for me because I always have something to say.  I had a unique childhood, spending much time around adults and this has only helped me as I grew into adulthood.  As time passes by I realize more every day that my purpose now is to help others and not to help myself.  By aiding others the benefits are so bountiful.  It is really quite amazing to see someone you know meet and exceed their expectations.  It makes me smile to see this happen.

Enough for now.  I could fill many pages with more, but it is enough to know that I am happy to be here at the starting line for the 57th year as I celebrate that 56th anniversary of my Nativity.  I have to share one more story about where I learned the phrase “anniversary of my Nativity”.  God put Alan Silvio Williams in the path of my wife and I over 20 years ago while she attended graduate school at Austin Peay.  Dr. Al stayed our friend until the end of his years and he coined that nativity phrase that I carry forward in his honor.  Dr. Al taught me that life and relationships are to be celebrated and I’ll always remember that he kindly referred to me as his “best Republican friend”.  I know he meant it tongue-in-cheek, but being recognized by someone who embraced life in such a manner only makes it more meaningful to me today.