I have just finished reading Todd Burpo’s book “Heaven is for Real”, a vivid account of his son, Colton, and his incredible journey to Heaven.
I have to admit, I have a new found appreciation and love for the simple things in life. You have to if you have nothing else. See, some of my clients’ delayed payments and postponed schedules have made quite a dent in my business’s cash flow. Almost 4 months worth of dents. So we’ve had to “tighten the belt”, both literally and figuratively, as we learn how to live with less than we have come to expect for the past several months. We are now stripped down to the bare essentials.
As an entrepreneur, nothing can be more daunting than the reality that the Electric and Water company don’t give a hoot about your cash flow “situation”. They will not hesitate to pull the plugs and put on the stops immediately. That’s part of the entrepreneurial challenge for startups like mine. And I love challenges, which explains why I’ve learned to not be “too high” or “too low” and keep a balanced demeanor when making decisions. This is not something you learn in a classroom folks. I have enough real life experience, not theories, to consider myself as having a Doctorate in Dealing With Challenging Situations.
You see many people speak of poverty from what they learn watching or being with other people before they play savior and swoop in to save the day. Few have actually lived through even “temporary poverty” where you are made to decide on choosing food for your family OR payment for the commute going to school for the kids. Pay the water bills or buy some milk.
And considering we’ve only “stripped down” in the last 2 months, so I know its nothing compared to those who may have lost hope and nothing to look forward to. I still feel blessed.
It’s hard, from within the storm of every day life, to see things with real perspective, to know what’s important and what’s simply pressing on our consciousness right now, demanding attention.
We have people emailing us for information and requesting action, we have phone calls and visitors and a long to-do list and a million chores and errands to run and all of the slings and arrows of our daily reality … and yet, what is important?
Ask yourself this: if you suddenly found out you only had 6 months to live (for whatever reason), would the thing in front of you matter to you?
Would those 20 emails waiting for a response matter? Would the paperwork waiting to be processed matter? Would the work you’re doing matter? Would the meetings you’re supposed to have matter? Would a big car and nice house and high-paying job and cool computer and mobile device and nice shoes and clothes matter?
I’m not saying they wouldn’t matter … but it’s important to ask yourself if they would.
What would matter to you?
For many of us, it’s the loved ones in our lives. If we don’t have loved ones … maybe it’s time we started figuring out why, and addressing that. Maybe we haven’t made time for others, for getting out and meeting others and helping others and being compassionate and passionate about others. Maybe we have shut ourselves in somehow. Or maybe we do have loved ones in our lives, but we don’t seem to have the time we want to spend with them.
When was the last time you told your loved ones you loved them? Spent good quality time with them, being in the moment?
For many of us, doing work that matters … would matter. That might mean helping others, or making a vital contribution to society, or creating something brilliant and inspiring, or expressing ourselves somehow. It’s not the money that matters, but the impact of the work.
Are you doing work that matters?
For many of us, experiencing life would matter — really being in the moment, finding passion in our lives, seeing the world and traveling, or just seeing the world that’s around us right now, being with great people, doing amazing things, eating amazing food, playing.
These are just a few ideas … but what would matter to you?
I highly recommend that you spend at least a little time now, and regularly, thinking about this question … figuring out what really matters … and living a life that shows this.
How do you live a life that puts a great emphasis on what matters? Start by figuring out what matters, and what doesn’t. Then eliminate as much as you can of the stuff that doesn’t matter, or at least minimize it to the extent possible.
Make room for what does matter.
Make the time for what does matter … today. Put it on your schedule, and don’t miss that appointment. Make those tough decisions — because choosing to live a life that is filled with the important stuff means making choices, and they’re not always easy choices. But it matters.
Spend time with your significant other, show them how important they are. Take the time to cuddle with your child, to read with her, to play with her, to have good conversations with her, to take walks with her. Take time to be in nature, to appreciate the beauty of the world around us. Take time to savor the little pleasures in life.
Because while you might not have only 6 months to live, I’m here to break the news to you: you really do only have a short time to live. Whether that’s 6 months, 6 years or 60 … it’s but the blink of an eye.
The life you have left is a gift. Cherish it. Enjoy it now, to the fullest. Do what matters, now.
A Letter from Dad
by Sar Castillo
The time will come when my hands are not the ones you will reach for in times of need.
The time will come when my voice will be the last one you’ll want to hear.
The time will come when I will be the one seeking your undivided attention.
The time will come when your friends will seem more important than our family.
The time will come when you’d rather not eat together with the family.
The time will come when you make up stories to get away from responsibility.
The time will come when home is the last place you want to be in.
The time will come where you will try and argue your way out of a bind.
The time will come when I let you win because loving means not being right all the time.
The time will come when someone’s betrayal may seem to break you.
The time will come when nothing in the world will seem to console you.
The time will come when the only option is God’s Love.
These times WILL come…
The time will come when all I can do is pray.
The time will come when my words will hold no sway.
The time will come when you are old enough to realize the truths in what I wrote.
The time will come when I will no longer be around…
To hold you,
To console you,
To be there for you,
To remind you…
That no matter what, no matter how and no matter when…
I will ALWAYS be YOUR Dad and I LOVE you.