We have finally arrived at our intended destination. The place we will be calling home: Florida. We will be spending the summers and holidays back in the midwest. While visiting with some friends last week, I saw this statement: “The best things in life–the people—the places—the memories we’ve made.” Allow me a moment to make a spiritual observation: if it were not for the Lord transforming my life, the people, places, and memories I would have today would be entirely different!
Have you ever wondered how different your life would be had you made different choices? Every once in a while, I will think about it, and my imagination is not creative enough to fathom how different life would be from what it is today. Everything has been affected by a choice made over five decades ago to become a Christ-follower. I am moving into the beginning of the last season of my life. I know this part of life can be well over thirty years, but I must be realistic, not morbid, but realistic. I am fine with where I am in life. I have been around too many folks who have lived in denial. I want to live my life with my eyes wide open. A book recommendation for today is “What the Happiest Retirees Know” by Wes Moss. Interestingly, it does not take as much money as most people assume. Activity, purpose, and friends play a major part in our contentment.
I have reflected on a few things over the past few days:
- People, I believe I have met and known some of the most incredible people on earth. I met great people in college and seminary, many of whom remain good friends, today. I have pastored wonderful congregations and still hear from many from time to time. You can’t live life and not run into a lot of folks. The people in my life have greatly enriched my life, and I look forward to meeting many more. It seems that Clarence from “It’s a wonderful life” was correct when he wrote to George Bailey, “Remember, George: no one is a failure who has friends.” In the book by Wes Moss that I mentioned about the happiest retirees, he states that you do not need an army of friends, just a few close relationships. Friends are the glue that keeps us together as we travel through life. If we go through life with our eyes and hearts open, we will see people around us who need a friend, a kind word, a little help, and some encouragement. Ask God today to make you a blessing to someone this very day. As I have gotten older, I have realized what a gift my friends are to me.
- Places The places I have lived have also been key in my development. Again, it is impossible to measure how much, but I believe it is significant from my vantage point today. Susanne and I plan to visit a few new places and return to locales we frequented in bygone days. People and places have been and continue to be the building blocks of life. I am thankful today for the places I have been allowed to serve that have become a part of my development. Just the mention of certain cities and states and a smile comes across my face.
- Memories This seems to be a place I hang out more than in previous years, memories or nostalgia. One must be careful at this point. Often the past is better remembered than lived! I cherish the memories of persons, events, and circumstances much more than I did in my younger years. Most if not all of us have regrets, yet as I get older, I understand there is always something we would have handled differently or things we would have said or left unsaid. This is a part of life. If amends need to be made, then we must do so. Everything else give to God. Please try to focus on the positives and do the work today to create positive memories for yourself and your family and friends.
If you are reading this and have gotten this far, I am sure you are one of the people who positively influenced my life. Thank you! You are loved and appreciated.