Value Every Relationship You Have — Never Take Anyone for Granted
10 days ago, my Uncle had his last rites read to him on his hospital bed. We all know what usually occurs afterwards. But he’s still living, still breathing, still giving this world warmth, love and his affectionate humor and smile that light up a room. A brain tumor — cancer — and a debilitating stroke are a vicious combination for anyone to handle. But my Uncle is strong. He is loved. I continue keep the faith.
I’ve been so incredibly inspired by the love and care that my Aunt and two cousins, Cyndi and Kristen, have shown to their husband and father. Even from 700 miles away, I can feel their love. It’s as authentic and real as it gets. It’s powerful. During such a tough time for my family, I’ve learned, as St. Paul once wrote, that love truly does endure all things.
Think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive to breathe, to think, to enjoy, and to be with people you love. Sometimes there is sadness in our journey, but there is also lots of beauty. We must keep putting one foot in front of the other even when we hurt, for we will never know what is waiting for us just around the bend. — Ritu Ghatourey
The Value of Relationships
One of life’s greatest deceptions is thinking we can make it on our own — that we don’t need other people to survive and keep moving forward. Each time that the ‘“going’s been good” in my life and I’ve thought I could rely on myself for everything, life has done a brilliant job of smacking me in the face.
The man I have become is the result of two extraordinary parents, my Mom and Dad. They taught me that we need one another’s faith, hope and love to get by. They raised me, took me to doctor appointments, attended all of my basketball games, cleaned up after me as a child and loved me unconditionally.
And in return, I learned to never take them for granted. Part of my life’s mission is honor them and love them with every fiber of my being, until the day we all leave this world.
The man I am today, faults and all, is also the composite of every person that has ever touched me, lifted me up, taught me a valuable lesson and made me a better person. The way I love and care for my son is inspired by the love that my wife has shown me. My wife is the most honest, trustworthy person I’ve ever met in my life. On the night she met me, she went home, and wrote in her journal :
“This the man I want to marry.”
By the grace of God, as a 25-year old graduate student who still didn’t have his priorities straight, she didn’t tell me that right away. But my wife had the conviction — she knew. While I don’t believe in or live with regret, it took me a long time to get over the feeling of remorse of when I broke up with her — twice — and broke her heart.
I wasn’t mature. I wasn’t ready. Because I hadn’t yet learned to truly value my relationship with my wife. I nearly let fear destroy my life simply because the commitment to a lifetime of love with a very special person seemed daunting. I wanted to feel like she was getting the best man on the planet. But I came to accept that I will never be that.
I can only be the best, most valuable version of myself.
After nearly four-and-a-half years of marriage, one child, several job changes and moves, we’ve survived and moved forward. We love each other tremendously. I’ve learned what it means to value the time I have with her, but also in my other relationships as well. I’ve written previously of how the time I value most — way more than time spent on my personal ambitions — is with my family, friends and the ones I love.
Inspiration and Meaning
“In finding love, I think it’s important to be patient. In being in a relationship, I think it’s important to be honest, to communicate, to respect and trust, and to strive to give more than you take.” — Kina Grannis
I believe firmly that a major part of life is about finding the talents we’ve been given, then maximizing our focus and time spent on improving these gifts, mixing them with enthusiasm and giving them to the world. Yet my most powerful human belief is that we all deserve to be loved. There’s simply no better feeling. And the sooner we love how much more special it is to love, than to be loved, the richer life gets.
I write this now, missing my son. He’s only five miles up the road at daycare. And I do need for each day to be productive if I am going to realize my dreams. And it might be utter chaos if I attempted to manage the life of a mischievous, hilarious 2-year old for 14 hours per day (I’m better equipped for 4–5!). But I miss his smile. I miss his love.
He has inspired me to love everyone in my life with greater verve and passion. I truly value each moment with him and I remind myself of this constantly, in the moment, that I want him to feel just how much he is loved.
I’ve been further inspired and encouraged by my Uncle’s remarkable fight for his life. It’s too early to go. He is truly loved by all of us. He brings everyone so much joy and happiness. He’s always told us how much we mean to him. And we’ve returned the favor. Never, ever miss a chance and never take a moment for granted. At its best, life is truly about living with all the love in your heart.
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