Tag Archives: attitude

Hanging On To the Good Times

Good TImes

This week Nan went through a surgery and while she was at the hospital my 93-year old father was admitted to another hospital for rapidly failing health. Yes, in the same day. Although Nan’s has turned out to be successful, I don’t expect it to be the same for my father. These are times when all the past squabbles mean nothing and the happy memories are cherished. This is one of them.

But the lesson to be learned here is to anticipate a day like this, and put the things you do today into perspective. Whatever you create in the here and now is what you will have to look back on. And you never know when “that day” will come.

We had prayerfully anticipated a good outcome for Nan’s surgery although there were some unknowns. But as anyone who has had a hospital procedure knows, you sign a lot of paperwork that reminds you of the scary reality – there is always a risk of things going badly.

Over my lifetime I have let anxiety rule some of my choices. I have not done things that would have created good memories for Nan and me. And because of my sinful nature I have created some bad ones, too. As I sat in the hospital waiting for the surgery to be finished I thought: “What if this was it? What if there were no more memories to be made?”

I think it is human nature to believe that you will always have enough time to do what you would want to do. But it’s a lie. You can miss it. Circumstances change. Health and energy fades. The years get away from you while you raise kids and go to work.

For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.  2 Corinthians 6:2

This isn’t a justification for going out and blowing all your money or abandoning all your restraints. Most of what is important will fall into other categories. It’s about investing your time wisely. It’s about being kind in your relationships. It’s about taking vacations and talking to each other rather than staring at your smart phone or computer. It’s about not accepting overtime just so you can buy more “stuff”.

I had an offer from someone to sit with me at the hospital. That meant a lot. That’s what true friendship looks like. Our church encourages building that kind of community and those kinds of relationships. Even the hard times can be good times if you don’t face them alone.

So what are the good times you want to hang on to?

As I get older some of the ones I used to think were good times are now regretful memories. We all have a past, so perhaps you are like me. These days I am more concerned with building significant or eternal ones. How about you?

Living A New Adventure

Adventure

As I sit here on a vacation week on the eve of a new year, I was thinking about how new beginnings can start anytime. They are not restricted by age, stage or calendar dates. They are much more determined by attitude and intentionality.

What new adventure do you want to start this year?

For those who know us, Nan and I are definitely of “retirement age”, but not of a retirement mindset. It is not our goal to live a life of leisure, but rather a more leisurely life in some aspects of our daily living, but not all. We are excited about what God has put before us and want to take full advantage of the years we have.

For some of you, you may have been living a more leisurely life and it’s time to fire up the engine and get moving. There are many things that are much easier to start building at a younger age. For others, you have pressed the gas pedal too hard, and it’s time to hit the brakes and look around and perhaps change direction.

Both Nan and I did this early in our relationship. She shifted from teaching to starting a new direction as a marriage and family therapist. I refocused from a career as a musician to a businessman and then counselor. What have you been itching to do but need to make changes to do it?

I am not just talking about career. Have you put off friendships, relationships or spiritual pursuits because you “haven’t got the time”? I know some people have pushed these things forward expecting they will always be there when they want them. But that is not always true. We cannot depend on being able to order our world the way we want it. We can try, but there are no guarantees. It’s not bad to be impatient for the really important things.

New life skills?

I want to continue as a learner. I have always been an avid reader, but now with YouTube it is easier than ever to learn all kinds of new and often practical skills. I am not necessarily encouraging solitary pursuits – some things are best learned in community. But rather I am advocating an attitude of personal as well as corporate growth. What new life skills do you want to pick up?

How about an adventure into gratitude, generosity and hospitality? Have you put those things off for later in your life? I know I struggle to balance those things out and continue to fight to gain ground against their opposites. It seems easy for me to go negative and scared rather than optimistic and courageous. But new adventures can’t be based on fear and pessimism – at least not worthwhile ones. So join me!

Blessings to you and your adventures in the new year.

 

Recording Contracts and Disappointments

Disappointment

Back in the day (the late 1960’s) our band signed with a now long defunct record company, Dot Records. Many experts consider this era the pinnacle of the record business, where every company was scrambling for talent to promote. Money was being spent on artists with potential, as opposed to those with a solid track record. We recorded some vocal tracks at a cool little pro studio (Alamo) in North Hollywood, and the now famous Wrecking Crew provided the instrumental tracks. We were on our way. It was going to be the “big time” for us.

But then the bottom dropped out. Dot Records went bankrupt and shut down and we were left with a worthless contract. We were looked at by a couple of other companies, but didn’t generate enough interest to get picked up.

What do you do when disappointment comes your way?

Yes, grief ensued in all it’s glory: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I know we, the band, felt all of those things. But what did we DO that got us through the disappointment?

  1. We kept on going. We didn’t let the demise of the company mean the demise of us. We took action and started looking around for other options. Although we did not ultimately get where we had hoped, we met a lot of really great people along the way.
  1. We didn’t blame people. Everyone involved was affected by the company closure. People lost their jobs and had to find new employment. Trying to pin the loss on someone was unproductive: it wouldn’t have changed the outcome.
  1. We managed our feelings by processing together. Individually isolated we might have leaned toward pessimism or bitterness. Instead we supported each other by affirming our worth in a very musician kind of way: we spent more time practicing together and wrote more songs. We released the pent-up energy in a positive manner.

We all have had, and are going to continue to have setbacks in our lives. It is inevitable because we live in a competitive world. Your needs, wants and desires compete with other people’s at times, and you won’t always have things your way. Or circumstances emerge that are either not controllable or favorable to you and you have to adjust. It is disappointing.

The kind of work we do at The Relationship Center is largely helping people manage these challenges. We guide them through the grief, power struggles, trust issues and marital drifting that occurs, particularly in long-term relationships.

Will you see these occasions as opportunities for growth? Will you allow your feelings to accept the losses in a realistic manner without over or under reacting to them? In a culture like ours which is principally person-centered, it can be really hard to do. But that is what maturity is all about.