(or, How to Lose a Leg & Gain a Life)
One year ago, at about 9:00 AM Pacific, I received the gift of Time. For reasons that only God knows, He granted me the blessing of more of this wonderful resource. More Time to hear my precious children laugh, more Time to enjoy the company of a close friend, more Time to share a joke with a colleague and more Time to see a loving glance from my beautiful wife.
I shouldn’t really have this gift (though it’s the unexpected and undeserved ones that are the most cherished, no?). Generally, and medically speaking when one has a golf-ball-sized aneurysm in one’s leg and additional blood clots there joining the party, and then tries to foam-roll it thinking it’s a calf cramp, one doesn’t usually get to go on about one’s continued course of existence. In a way, though, I didn’t…
The price of admission for this Time was my left leg — just above the knee. It’s a trade I’d make again. Please don’t think I wouldn’t love to have both appendages fully fleshed and functioning, but there’s something bigger at play. That’s because in the process of losing a leg, I gained a life.
This past year, has, without a doubt, been the most difficult, most daunting, and most exhausting that I could have imagined or experienced…and it has been the best year of my life. In just the short span of a year — 365 days — I’ve grown more than I could imagine, reconnected with my kids in wonderful new ways, shared meaningful conversations with cherished friends (and more than a few total strangers) and established a bond with my spouse that I never thought possible. I’m a better husband, a better father, and I hope a better friend and co-worker…all because of this precious gift of Time.
Prior to my passage into altered-mobility I most definitely and quite blatantly took Time for granted. In today’s hustle of expectations and blur of commitments it is easy to do — not right… but easy. I did a lot of things… some OK, some well, some very poorly, but none with the proper perspective or alignment. As others who have experienced the gift of Time have shared so kindly with me: “You don’t know its value till you are faced with its potential absence.” We all hear versions of those words repeatedly, whether it’s from someone you know personally or from the latest Lifetime movie. I know, like many others, I brushed it off and didn’t really heed its simple but clarion truth: value, treasure and take full advantage of the Time you’re given.
So…if only to placate this long-winded writer, or perhaps in a hat tip to my one year celebration of receiving a very precious gift, I’ll ask you to join me in a commitment to “Take Time.” Don’t just “make time,” by filling something in or squeezing in another responsibility. Really “Take Time” — intentionally, purposefully, planfully — to make more moments matter. Grab your Time by the proverbial horns and don’t let it go until you’ve given it direction and meaning.
In my own effort to do this — I’m sharing with you my list for the year ahead — where I plan to really Take Time. Yours might differ. Individual results may vary. I’m a non-attorney spokesperson, etc., etc.
- Take Time to connect — with my family, starting with my wife and my kids and everyone down the line, they’ve been so supportive and encouraging this past year and they deserve more of my attention and investment.
- Take Time to say “thank you!” — gratitude is the last thing we get around to expressing far too often and I have mounds of gratitude for so many that have done so much for me over the past year. My approach — at least once a week pen a “thank you” card for someone who might not expect it but more than deserves it. I guarantee that if you think about it you’ll come up with a list of more than ten folks in under a minute.
- Take Time to get grounded — For me, that’s time in prayer. It’s healing and restoring.
- Take Time to try something new — Push yourself. You don’t want to not-wake-up with regrets. My “new” is swimming. I’ve done it before but never well and I’ve got to re-learn how to do it with a single flipper. Hey, if dolphins and other fishy friends can do it with one, I’ve got no excuse.
- Take time to reconnect — with people that you haven’t spoken to in years. Better yet, reconnect with people that you talk to every day at work, at the coffee shop, in your neighborhood but that you don’t really know beyond a cursory conversation.
Listen. More. Often. Intently. Earnestly. Repeat.
My point with this list (yes, I’m getting to my last one I promise) and with sharing all of these thoughts — both today and the preceding ones — is that life is too short (as I was reminded this time last year) to wait around. Too often we hold on for the next New Years’ Eve to work on resolutions that usually get discarded, modified or forgotten before January has passed. I just happen to be fortunate enough to have a new demarcation point — my own personal “New Year’s.” — August 22nd. The great part is you don’t need a major life-altering moment to do the same thing…just your own personal, even private, life-altering moment where you make the choice to “Take Time” and start fresh.
So, Happy New Year! Here’s to Taking Time back and charging forward in a bold, confident, wonderfully refreshed new way.