Lessons I Learned My 39th Year on Earth

Lesson 7:  The illusion of happiness and happiness are not the same animal

    Have you ever noticed how fantastic everyone’s life seems on Facebook?  I can hardly get on-line without noticing that someone just got a new car, earned a promotion at work, or received a letter saying their kid got accepted into Mensa.  Some days, it’s enough to make you want to puke. 

    This week, I went to a charity luncheon that reminded me what true happiness really looks like, and let me assure you… it has nothing to do with all this self aggrandized nonsense we all tend to get wrapped up in (myself included).  Happiness is an elusive state of being that most of us have a hard time finding in this chaotic world of ups and downs, but this week, over a plate of chicken cordon blue, I saw it… right there in the flesh.      

     First, let me back up and explain how I even ended up at this shin dig.  A couple of weeks ago, my boss sent me and the other anchors at the station an invite to the Community Foundation’s Humanitarian Award Luncheon.  Candidly, I thought to myself, “Oh great!  Just one more thing to squeeze into my already jam-packed life.  Like I have time for lunch!”  (By the way, this is a fantastic example of how most of us miss the precious moments in life.  We’re too busy!!!!!)

     The honorees this year were Vince Gill and Amy Grant.  No surprise there!  They do stuff for the community all the time.  Good choice!  Let’s get the show on the road.  This is what I was thinking on my way to Lowe’s Vanderbilt.  By the end, I found myself moved to tears by all the lives they’ve helped change, and looking for the nearest hole I might be able to crawl into for not doing more to help my fellow-man. 

      I had no IDEA all the things these two people have done, not only for Nashville, but for people all over the world!  They do more charity work in a month than I have in 40 years combined.  At one point they were saying things so profound I started taking notes on my program, and I decided to share some of those with you in this week’s blog.  They were some good life lessons for all of us.    

     Instead of giving them another award to sit on some shelf, they gave them a quilt, and Amy Grant made one of the most profound statements I’ve heard in a long time… “I always felt like quilting was the original recycling, and just such a picture of all of our lives.  You know, how we all get torn apart, and put back together.  It’s always more beautiful and ALWAYS endlessly more interesting… when it’s put back together.”

     Wow!  What she said is so true.  No matter who you are or what your status… life is filled with a lot of painful moments.  You can sit around and grumble about it, or you can view those situations as something that are producing maturity and adding texture to your life.  The next time I face a challenge, I’m going to consider it just another swatch on that amazing quilt that is my life.          

     When it was Vince’s turn at the mic, he said this about his wife, “She inspires me to be better… be a better person.  I couldn’t ask for a better partner to show me and teach what the art of giving really looks like.”  This statement provided a lesson as well.  Whether it’s a mate or just your circle of friends… surround yourself with people of strong character who make you want to be a better person.  Look closely at the people you’re hanging out with.  If they’re not adding to your life in some way, there’s a good chance they’re taking away from it.      

     Vince also read the words to a song he recently wrote for Amy called “The Red Words”… a reference to the words in the Bible spoken by Jesus.  These are just a few of the lines I jotted down for thought. 

“She’d take a bullet for her children.  She’d give them all her last breath.  Always there and always willing as a mother’s love never rests.”

“I know that black’s her favorite color because without it there’s no depth.”

“Show some kindness for a stranger.  And be grateful for today.  Open up your family bible and read what the red words say.”

     Though all of those lines were great, my favorite was the one about the color black.  Other than my go to LBD, I’ve never really given much thought to the color black.  In fact, if anything, I usually associate it with darkness… something I’m not particularly fond of.  As I thought more about it though, I realized what Amy sees in black.  Without darkness, there is no light.  Without sorrow, there is no joy.

     There was one last statement that I loved, and I hope it gives you all some food for thought.  Amy said, “Your focus in life comes from a combination of your passion and your pain.”  The person who can find that focus is someone who is truly happy indeed.  Have a great weekend!

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3 Responses

  1. Last Sunday my wife passed away, peacefully in her sleep. We had been separated for over a year, but were still close friends and fishing buddies. Wednesday, at her memorial service, I walked outside and there was a cross in the sky over the cemetery, and I was comforted to know that she was in a better place and no longer suffering. I know that the cross was just the contrails of two airplanes crossing paths, but I can’t help but believe that it was a sign to the family that everything was going to be okay.
    I took a picture and posted it on my facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150439523764328&set=a.491504649327.294407.675209327&type=1&ref=nf

  2. Thank you, Jennifer

  3. I sometimes get down due to being out of work for over 7 months but I am continually reminded that I have two great kids and a wonderful family that supports me and encourages me. There are a lot of people in worse shape than I am and blogs like yours help me to remember that. Thank you Jennifer!

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