My son said this to me in the car the other day. It resulted in my sobbing to the point where I wasn’t sure I could drive. He was talking about the “last” of something that occurred at school. He said that the hardest part about life is that he can’t stop time. It’s going so fast and he just wants it to stop for a moment … ahhh, out of the mouths of babes.
Last night was another “last” – their last HS soccer game. Soccer is a sport they’ve played since they were 5. That’s a lot of soccer socks, shin pads (and missing shin pads), shoes, and lost water bottles. But more than that, it’s the end of this sport that my boys played together. This morning as I was putting away soccer stuff that was strewn all around, I was reminded of my son’s comments in the car and my thoughts back to him:
- Be present: The only way you can really stop time is to be present. To feel the experience instead of moving to the next one. This kid is present. He rarely misses a feeling or experience. We joke that he will have his own reality TV show about hording – he hangs on to so much s***! But the reason he hangs on to things is that he enjoys the memories. He likes to re-experience a joyful moment in time. What a wonderful quality.
- Focus on family: I reminded him (cue – tears from me) that he will never have this time again with his brother. As much as they might wish to had their own space (and they will soon), they have spent a lifetime together – in the car, on teams, with friends. There is no one who has your back more than your family (however you define that). Appreciate it. Don’t push it away. That love is never going away.
- Nurture your friendships. I reminded him that as we grow older, it’s important to have friends to lean on, to cheer us up, and keep us keep going. While he will meet new people in college, I anticipate that he will remain friends with one or more of his high school buddies. Life is cool that way.
- Let go of grudges. I don’t think he has any but one of the things I mentioned, that causes us to lose track of time, is hanging on to grudges. You don’t have to forget what someone did to you but if you forgive, you have more time to appreciate life.
So, the dilemma of life is that we move too fast, miss a million things in a day and can’t stop time. I can’t solve that one. But, I can (and am going to) go for a run with friends to experience the beautiful fall weather — and maybe, just maybe, time will stop for a moment as I take it all in.
I hope you all experience today. XOXO
This quote is from Mark Twain. I’ve always loved it. It speaks to me about forgiveness. But more than that it speaks about the integrity of forgiveness. There’s no question that we have values in which we base our moral guidelines or honor codes. These values are different for all of us. No judgement – just different. Ideally, as we move through life, we become more conscious of our own values, we discover the truths for our lives and then we live (almost) every day thinking about the effect we have on others, even those who don’t know us.
To me integrity means following my values – at work, in my personal life, and in my travels on this earth. But I am imperfect. I regularly fail. And when I fail, I have to forgive myself and ask for forgiveness – but from whom? Myself? Others? G-d? The truth is the same for all three … I can only have forgiveness if I have the desire for it in my heart. That’s the integrity of forgiveness.
If you’re a parent, you know forgiveness like the back of your hand. Your kid spills something on your new dress? Forgiveness. Bangs up the car? Forgiveness. Says something hurtful? Forgiveness. But with others, we like assign total responsibility to someone else and frankly, I’m really good at ignoring my own part.
Someone with true integrity asks for forgiveness when they don’t do their best. But they don’t make the same mistakes over and over again. And they don’t make excuses. They are quick to apologize first – even when it might not be their “fault.” People with true integrity believe you when you say you are sorry but they do not appreciate you lying to them. If you say you’re sorry and do the offending action again, they are not likely to ever believe you. But, when you ask for forgiveness from someone with true integrity – they forgave you even before you asked.
When I look to the people in my life – those who I emulate – they have four characteristics:
- Integrity: They are not self-focused and self-absorbed. They are focused on who they are serving – and their service group is large.
- Responsibility: They take responsibility for their actions and they take that role seriously.
- Forgiveness: Of course, they forgive. They let others make mistakes and then they forgive them in their heart.
- Compassion: They are there for you even when they are not in front of you. They give in the most quiet, but selfless way.
We are living in a freaking crazy world right now. People are hurting other people every day. And, some seem to be out for just themselves. Yet we must keep moving forward.
In the end, the only thing you can take with you is the spirit of how you walked this earth. Our future is as we live.
Powerful. Yet simple.