This is going to be a detour from my usual teaching and coaching topics. It’s a day to focus on an important aspect of leadership. Being thankful.
Are you thankful today? Can you be thankful most days? Thankful for the job you have, the role you play? Are you thankful for family and friends? Or do you suffer from darkness in your view of the things that are happening?
Having a spirit of gratitude for the blessings that have been given to you can shape all other aspects of how you show up as a leader. It’s an important question to ask yourself. Am I thankful?
The Big Day
Today is a big day for me. I and my wife are celebrating 20 years of marriage. For some, that’s no big deal. For others, it is a very big deal. Please allow me a moment to share some deeper thoughts about what this represents for me and why it makes me thankful. I think you will find a meaningful application for your life’s situation too.
I took too long to figure out how to be married and to whom I should be married. As an old friend once quipped “my picker was broken.” But before the turn of this century, in the late 90’s I was single and searching. I wasn’t really searching for love, but for the right life partner. I was turning to my deep faith in God to guide me. There was a sense that I would remarry, but I didn’t know to whom or when. Despite having endured a painful divorce, I was growing more thankful every day.
I committed some time to chill after the divorce. See I had been divorced once before, making this one #2. If I learned anything from the first one, I learned to be slow about choices for the next one. I dedicated my free time to work at my church; playing basketball with the youth group, attending a men’s group, and volunteering for other activities. I was not hot on the dating scene. There were contemplation, meditation, and prayer about my future, but the peace and thankfulness were growing. As part of my journey, I wrote a poem I dedicated to the person I thought I should find. No name, just a vision.
The Turning Point
Slowly, as my heart became whole again, I dipped my toes in the dating pool. I’m not going to bore you with any details of the process, but one day SHE arrived. The one. The right one. The very person to whom I had written a poem more than a year before. Her name was Susan. We actually met online, which at that time, was a very weird place to be, especially for a 40-something guy and gal. But it clicked. We started merely emailing at first, then talking by phone. We were both in relationships when we first connected, but we each sensed the relationships we had were not going to last.
It took 6 months before we had our first date. I know that sounds very strange, but we had kids and other responsibilities to handle so we built the friendship before we decided to meet in person. There was no Zoom so, yes we hadn’t even seen each other except for pictures in our online profiles. Once we met, we knew. We got married about 16 months after that first encounter. We were blessed with a deep friendship and trust in each other to be the foundation of our life together.
There are so many stories to tell, but today is year 20 and it’s impossible to believe it’s been that long. It just seems like yesterday. As a couple, we’ve been through a lot externally, but never anything hostile between us. It can be said to this day, we’ve never had a fight. We don’t fight, we resolve. Susan and I harmonize as a couple. She has her responsibilities, I have mine. When our “stuff” overlaps, we discuss it. Susan calls it “negotiating.” But it works in a very good way.
Me being able to reflect on two failed marriages and comparing what I have today, I am way more than thankful. I am awed. It keeps me mindful of the blessings in my life.
When stress and pressure build, I can be thankful for the good things still present in my life.
Reflection is Key
As I reflect on my situation today, I am thankful beyond measure. I have a great wife, a blessed life, a beautiful blended family of kids and grandkids, an awesome tribe of followers who enjoy my work, and a clear sense of purpose for what I do. That, my friend, is something to be very thankful for.
I don’t let a day go by that I don’t thank the good Lord for His blessing in my life. I tell Susan too. Now I’m telling you.
Thank you for being you. You bless my life. Tell someone you love that you are thankful for them. It’ll make their day and lift yours too.