The Most Valuable Gift We Are Given
“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.”
C. JoyBell C.
Today I want to think about two concepts that could not be more closely tied had they been spelled with the exact same letters in the exact same order in a sentence. “ELDERS” and “LIFE LESSONS”!
Perhaps this subject strikes such a personal chord with me because my father, who is going to be 86 years young in just 18 days, lives with me most of the year. Yes, he travels and spends perhaps 5-6 months with my siblings who live in other states, but it is here where his friends are, it is here where his car is (yes, he still drives locally), and it is here where his belongings, gathered over a lifetime of living, are to be found! And it is here, where he shares most of those priceless stories and nuggets of wisdom that he knows must be preserved for the benefit of not just me (and my siblings and our children), but his two biological great grandchildren.. at least so far! And while I admit that there are moments when I might roll my eyes at something I am hearing, especially if it is the second (or third) time it is being told (and to my dad who reads my posts every day, I am offering a public apology for that admission), usually there is a valuable life lesson contained in his words, even if it is something I merely want to tuck away, in the recesses of either my brain or my heart, for future reference!
Now there are many life lessons I learned at his side, besides how to determine the area of a cylinder which always managed to escape my brain in Geometry class, but which my father, the former high school mathematics teacher turned school Principal, patiently (and not so patiently, at times) managed to teach me so that the information was retained long enough for me to pass my math SAT test with a passable score. And while, in total, there were perhaps thousands (if not millions) of “PEARLS” that have passed from Father to Daughter over the years, a few of the ones he shared with me, either by word or by deed, that rank up at the top, are some of the following things:
- Almost always, it is the tests that life sends our way that teach us the most about our character, which is why the quote in the picture above is so impactful! “You Never Know How Strong You Are Until Being Strong Is the Only Choice You Have”.
- Have you ever noticed that it is always the person who is truly kind, loving and giving who lives the happiest life? Conversely, living with greed, jealousy and a perpetual chip on your shoulder, is almost certain to breed misery!
- Never dismiss or underestimate your first impulse. Think about school and those multiple choice, pop quizzes the teachers delighted in springing on you. Remember being told how, if you aren’t certain what the correct the answer is, go with your first impulse? Just like your first impulse is often the correct one, so is your gut reaction to any problem or circumstance, something you should trust!
- Never loose hope in the goodness of mankind. Often looking at life through “rose-colored glasses” paints everything we see with exactly the beautiful hues we need to bring us happiness and joy!
- Be nice to your siblings. Even when we are separated by years or miles from our brothers or sisters, they will always be not only our closest ally and link to our past, but they are often the only ones who will be there for us, through the thick and thin times that comprise our tomorrows!
- Respect your elders and listen to their advice! As frustrated we might be with those lessons (or stories) told over and over, listen to each telling with an ear to glean some new pearl to take with you. And don’t ever forget that it will be us sharing those very same pearls, one day!
- We often tend to our homes and our yard with greater care than we do our friends. But we must cultivate our friendships with the same meticulous nurturing we do our prize roses. After all, our family members will always be tied to us by biology, but our friends are tied to us because they choose to be!
“15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever..”
1 John 2:15 KJV
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