My dad used to tell us kids as we were growing up, “Before you sleep, while lying on bed, think about your day from the time you wake up. Review the events and ask yourself what lessons you have learned. Ask yourself if there is anyone you have offended or hurt. Make sure you reconcile with that person as soon as possible.” It is a bit of wisdom from my father that I practice even today.
Hopefully, wisdom speaks louder as we grow older. Being patient and loving is a better thing to be than being rash and quick in our reaction and judgment. I remember my dad telling me to breathe and exhale ten times before reacting emotionally. I remember my mom telling me to “sleep on it.” People can be difficult at times and they may not even be aware of it.
Through the years, bits of wisdom from people and experiences came by. For example, I have learned that it is wiser to see people as they really are than what they appear to be. What they appear to be is often caused by their quick temper or other issues that bother them. This is challenging because it takes persistence, serenity and grace to actually see people in their true nature. I noticed that my perceptions, views and opinions of people transform as the years go by.
Another bit of wisdom I learned through the years is actually learning to give up control. If you know me, I am a Mr. Fix-It guy. I got this from my dad. He was in charge. He was in control.
I learned that in reality, we have much less control than what we might think. I thought I had power over causes and conditions that bring the circumstances of our lives. Here are five words that I anchor in my heart: Let Go and Let God. Have more trust in our Creator than in any creation (that includes me.)
One of my favorite authors, Henri Nouwen, has taught me to forget power, fame and money.
This is refreshing for me because it ties into my reflections and devotions every morning. Somewhere deep in our hearts we already know that success, fame, influence, power, and money do not give us the inner joy and peace that we desire. Somewhere we can even sense a certain envy of those who have shed all false ambitions and found a deeper fulfillment in their relationship with God. Yes, somewhere we can even get a taste of that mysterious joy in the smile of those who have nothing to lose.
You are blessed if you have a few friends like that. I do. And when I meditate on this every morning, I picture their faces, and suddenly the need to get praised, recognized and rewarded disappears, and I feel okay even if I stay in my room alone. Yes, we don’t need to be number one or to be the King or President to be happy. The truth is, those responsibilities could make any of us miserable. I know a few rich and influential people. They seem to have more stress and trouble.
Life is a journey. Let’s enjoy life more by seeing people for who they really are, learning to let go and let God, and thirdly, forget power, fame and money. Real joy can only be found in knowing who God is and having a personal relationship with Him. In the end, that is what really matters.