Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Stories: Pursuing Passion

Some people do. Some people are. I have a friend who is a dancer. Not an Aaron Rodgers kind of dancer, but a real dancer. For years, she has been working through and trying to figure out how to continue to pursue her hearts passion for dancing even though dancing does not necessarily pay the bills. For years I have been wondering...
'What's her deal? Dancing isn't cutting it, go out and find a job that will bring in enough money to support yourself, and then just dance on the side.'
Over the past 2 years, I have been on a journey towards identifying my own life passion and heart. Not so much a 'what I do' but more of a 'who I am'.

I have come to realize that you can't make yourself be something that you are not and you can't not be something that you are.

My friend is an artist. She is a dancer. It's not what she does. It's who she is. And so, for her, she has spent and will spend her days, her months, her years and her life 'doing' whatever she has to do to make ends meet in order to be able to continue her art, be true to herself and truly be who she is.

For this, I am grateful. So, to this friend, continue being you. You make a wonderful you. And may the rest of us continue to figure out who we are (and who we're not) and then be the best that we can be - no matter what the cost.

Monday, January 23, 2012

You Complete Me

The moment was a complete game changer in our relationship. I was moaning and groaning to my wife about things I didn't like about myself and things I didn't like about other people; complaining about this and worrying about that. At the end of my diatribe, I looked at Kristy and said 'I am such a terrible person.' I was making a joke. With all of the sincerity in the world, she looked at me and said, 

"Brian, you are not a terrible person. You just have a lot of issues."

She was not making a joke. She was dead serious. It was a game changer because at that moment, I came to realize much more of the depths of the love and life that we share together. Ours is a relationship where we are becoming more open and honest with one another, experiencing more trust and actually allowing one another to speak into the others life - kind of like real friends do.

In a day and age when Jerry's words to Dorothy is what people are looking for, it seems that we've actually been missing out on the true beauty of oneness. What if, being made 'complete' by another person is not the goal at all - or even possible for that matter?

When we look to another person to complete us, we in essence give that person complete power over us. When someone else completes us, we inevitably hang on every word that person says, looking for our value and worth. If they build us up we feel great. If they say something negative about us, even if it's true, it causes our world to cave in around us. This is perhaps one major reason why marriages don't last in our society.

What if, instead of looking to a spouse (or future spouse) to complete us, we looked to a spouse to be a partner in this life journey. Someone who we can be true friends with. True allies. As we work together to continue working through our stuff; knowing that we were never intended to 'complete' one another. A spouse certainly can make us a better person, but that actually only works if the relationship is authentic, vulnerable, filled with trust and love. That takes time, but seems to me - these days - to be much better than the cotton candy, 9th grade crush love we bought into along the way. And yes, for the record, I did like the movie Jerry Maguire and I might have gotten something in my eye during the 'you had me at hello' dialogue.

If you are married, does your spouse have the freedom to speak into your life? About your character? Flaws? How you come across to other people?

Married or not married, do you have others in your life who you have invited to speak into your life? People who make you a better person?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Stories: Chosen

My Kristy and I packed our bags and headed out of town for a 3 day retreat last week to spend some time with a number of friends who are sharing a similar experience of life, parenthood, vocation and life mission. One evening while sitting around the fire, we were talking with some new friends who have adopted a number of African American children. They were telling us a story about one of their son's who came home from school one day, distraught and said, 
"Dad, they are all making fun of me because I'm black and have white parents."
 This dad looked at his boy and said,
"You go back tomorrow and you tell those kids that you are adopted.You tell them that means that your mom and dad stood at that nursery window, surveyed the whole room full of babies and said, 'That one! We want that one, right there!.'.....and then you tell them that they were in that same nursery."
The humor was funny. But the overarching message of being wanted and chosen - well that is beyond beautiful.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunday Stories: Follow Your Heart

I'm a regular at my Starbucks. I know all of the baristas and of course the morning crowd. I've developed a number of good relationships with some of the other regulars, including Steve. Steve is writer. He primarily writes screenplays. He's in his late 40's and has been writing full time for a number of years.

Steve has determined that there is more to life than living, making lots of money and dying. He doesn't necessarily have a firm opinion on what more there is, but he's convinced there's more. This week he told me that is the reason he writes. He used to have a very well paying job, but he left it all to pursue writing, because he believes that what he writes has the power to impact and transform others through the stories he tells. This week, Steve told me,

"Brian, it's not about the money. If it was about the money, I'd be out there right now, pounding the pavement, making a buck. As it is, I'm sitting here, not making very much, but I'm following what's in my heart and I'm just hoping that it makes a difference. I have to do this."

Steve, to you, I say, way to go. I hope that your journey is full of success, but even if it's not, I hope that your heart stays alive. There is nothing better than a heart that is alive.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sunday Stories: Selfless Love

I heard a story this week about four siblings in their 50's. Two brothers, two sisters. Last week, their 81 year old father passed away. In his last few months of life, his health began to deteriorate and he began suffering with dementia as it would come and go at times.There were a number of occasions when he would be sitting at his home in his chair and would suddenly decide that he wanted to go home. Instead of convincing him that he was already at home or just putting him off, his sons would simply say,

"Ok, dad. Come on. Let's go."

They would go outside, load up in the car and begin driving their dad around asking him for turn by turn directions on how to get back to his home. Sometimes they would get by with just having to make the block. Other times, their dad's directions would take them on a long journey, passing by his old grade school, high school and other landmarks that resided in his memory. Each time though, they would end up back at his home. They would pull into the driveway, get out of the car, go inside and take their places once again in the chairs that they had left minutes earlier. The difference was, this time when sitting in his chair, their dad was at peace because his son's had taken him home.

This might be the most powerful story of love that I experienced this week.