"There is nothing new under the sun" was written almost 3000 years ago by King Solomon, and it's still true today. That's how truth works. It's true in every situation, in every time period, for every one. Yet, from one year to the next, one day to the next, even one moment to the next, we often forget the truths we've known.
For example, I spent a lot of quiet time in reflection for my last blog, contemplating my life's purpose. Once that solidified in my mind and heart, I felt as though I'd taken a step forward, as though I could and should be more intentional in every future interaction, as though I'd come to a new place, a better place, in my life.
The thing is that I've known quiet time, self-reflection, devotions (whatever you want to call them) are essential for keeping myself balanced, clear-sighted, and positive. And yet, for the last ten months, I've forgotten that truth. I've jumped out of bed each morning and hit the ground running. Because of no quiet time, I've become overwhelmed. Because of no quiet time, I've grown confused, foggy, unclear. Because of no quiet time, I've even, on occasion, gone into full-blown panic mode.
I've sabotaged myself by skipping that morning prayer time, that reflection time, that quiet time.
All this to say, I'm probably not going to provide any new insights into life and the world through these therapy sessions, but perhaps I'll remind you and me of a truth we've known but forgotten, or at least misplaced temporarily. So that's my hope for myself and you, my therapist -- to add value to your life by reminding you of the truths you know but are not currently living.
So the first reminder is to add daily quiet times -- intentional quiet times -- into your life again. Use your first one to ponder your life's purpose. Then, once you've decided what you've been called to, map out your plan for living it daily. Life's too short for us to waste ten months. Life's too short for us to waste today.
I'm not too proud to admit this (well, actually I am, but it's part of my therapy - see previous blog, My Therapy), but I am struggling in this season of life, in my new role. I'm really struggling.
I'm used to being fairly competent at what I do. I'd venture to guess that most of us could say the same. We've been educated in our field of expertise, or we've been doing our jobs long enough that experience has made us experts in our fields.
In this new chapter of my life, operating a golf course and a restaurant simultaneously -- two things I've never done before -- I'm not an expert. I have no education and no experience at all. I'm a beginner, a fledgling, a neophyte.
I know that God will not call us to a new role for which He will not equip us, And, looking back over my experiences in life, I can see how He has prepared me for this new adventure through many of the skills I've learned here and there. But, I'm standing here right now feeling ill-equipped. Therefore, my plan is to become intentional about equipping myself for the journey ahead. (And, I figure I'll just bring you along as my therapist.)
In the airport, on my way to a little respite from my struggles, I stopped at the newsstand to pick up a book to read. The one I was most drawn to was a series of articles from Harvard Business Review called On Managing Yourself. (I know, I'm a bit of a nerd.) That title struck a chord with me because that's exactly where I need to focus my efforts -- managing myself. I've got some issues -- big ones. I believe working on me first is going to help me handle this new life a little better. So that's where I'll begin.
The first article I read was by Clayton M. Christensen entitled "How Will You Measure Your Life?" He was adamant that we must have a clear purpose in life.
. . .
Let that sink in. I had to. I sat on the plane (not flying, just on the runway, actually -- a problem with the balancing system) and pondered my life's purpose. I thought about the different seasons in my life -- as a Christian, as a wife, as a mother, as a teacher, as a sales director -- and how my purpose fluctuates slightly with each one.
By the end of the chapter, I ended up writing down "HELP PEOPLE BECOME BETTER" as my life's purpose. But here I am two days later (sitting on the beach looking out over the Gulf of Mexico -- definitely a better place to think), and I think I'd expand that a bit. I think my purpose is to help people, organizations, situations, conversations become better than they would have been without me. I want to add value in some way to everyone I meet and every situation I'm in. (I'm asking you to hold me accountable.)
That's a tall order, but I know that's who I want to be. As I thought about my actions and reactions over the last few months, I realized that, all I'd been doing was racing from one situation to the next just putting out fires. I wasn't living intentionally. I was just making it through each day. As I continue to reflect, I realize that this issue may take more than one therapy session.
You can join me on this quest. Hopefully, you stopped at those three dots above and gave it a little thought. If not, take some time, ponder your life's purpose, and we'll talk again soon.
If you’re as old as I am (twenty-nine), you probably remember the show Cheers that used to come on Thursday nights. It had one of those theme songs that everyone remembers.
Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got.
Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot.
Wouldn't you like to get away?
Sometimes you wanna go..
Where everybody knows your name
And they're always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
The troubles are all the same.
You wanna be where everybody knows your name
And then, Norm comes into the bar and everyone yells his name, “Norm!”
They say (and I’m never quite sure who “they” is) that the most important word for every person to hear is their own name. I’m pretty sure that’s true because when someone I don’t know well calls me by my name, I feel honored that they know me. I get a little more puffed up. I feel a little more confident. I’m pretty sure that’s what we all want. We want to be known, acknowledged, and loved.
In fact, I’m so sure that this is true that I spend a good bit of my time running around trying to remember everyone’s name. I’ve met a lot of new people in this adventure we’re on -- I mean . . . a lot! I keep trying to get everyone’s name ingrained in my brain, but it’s probably my biggest hurdle.
My friends and I call it “Playing the Name Game.” You know the conversations:
“What’s her name? You know, she lives in town. We used to see her in the library when we took the kids to storytime.”
“Yes, yes. I know who you mean. She has dark hair, three kids.”
“Right, her husband works at Manitowoc. He’s an engineer.”
“Yeah, her daughter’s really into drama.”
“Exactly. What’s her name?”
“I don’t know.”
You’ve had those conversations too, right? The ones where you know every detail about another person, right down to her bra size, but you just can’t remember her name. What’s up with that? Why is it that we can’t remember the people of our lives, the people we’ve met who’ve made us who we are?
I’m thinking it’s our lack of downtime and the overload of the brain. I’m thinking that we’re not taking the time to really know people anymore. I’m thinking that we’re trying to do so much, trying to stay on top of all of the posts, news stories, sports teams, blogs, . . . One report suggests that we take in 34 gigabytes or 11.8 hours of information every day. Wow! It’s no wonder we can’t remember people’s names.
So, I propose that we all slow down just a bit, that we put away our phones, turn off our TV’s, hide our iPads and other devices and just relax with a friend, listen to a stranger tell a story, learn the name of that person you’ve been encountering every day for the last year. Let’s find a place where we just settle in and “take a break from all of our worries.” Let’s find a place where it’s like a little get away from the real world. Let’s find a place “where everyone knows your name and they’re always glad you came.”
That’s my dream for the Fireside Pub. We’re only three minutes from Rt 11, but it’s like a little get-away -- away from town, away from work, surrounded by wide open spaces, a place for play, a place to slow down. It’s a place where you’ll see people you know and where we’re always glad you came. It’s a place where I’m determined to learn your name (even if you have to remind me 25 times - have faith, time 26 will be a success!)
Let’s work together to build a community where everyone does know your name and they are glad you came. You can even get your name on a mug and stop in every day for your ½ price glass of beer or wine and just be. Take a break from the hustle and bustle. Slow down. Get away. Spend time talking. Get to know someone new. Learn someone’s name. Tell someone yours. Be known.