“The consciousness of loving and being loved brings a warmth and a richness to life that nothing else can bring. Who, being loved, is poor?”
It is fascinating how we insist on measuring our success in life via impermanent things. Money. Power. Prestige. These are the attributes of worldly success. Yet, all of these by themselves fall short of creating real meaning. Only loving and being loved brings true meaning to life.
The good news is that love is available to all of us, with all the richness that good news entails…
“When you are listening to somebody, completely, attentively, then you are listening not only to the words, but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed, to the whole of it, not part of it. ”
To listen, to truly listen, as described in the quote above, is one of the most effective and meaningful ways to show respect to another human being. When you listen like this, you express genuine care and empathy for the person on the other side of the conversation. To do so is to create the glue between content and meaning.
On the other side of the conversation, when someone leans and listens in this manner, you realize that they are interested in both what you are saying and why you are saying it. There is almost nothing more meaningful than to be heard in this way.
If you want to show care, concern, love, and empathy, you must learn to truly listen.
“Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.”
The past 48 hours have been some of the longest and most surreal of my life. On Thursday night, my little brother suffered a major cardiac event, and despite the heroic efforts of the seven emergency responders who rushed to his aid, he lost his earthly life. It is hard for me even to write these words and realize that they are real. In all honesty, I keep wanting to wake up from this dream/nightmare and pick up the phone and hear his voice again. Unfortunately, it isn’t a dream, and the opportunity to listen to him speak will have to wait until we meet again in Heaven.
I share this here because it is intensely personal, and because it is the stark reality of the world in which we live. We will suffer loss and pain, and nothing we can ever do will prepare us for losing someone we love.
My brother, Kenneth Grayson Holcomb, or “Gray,” as I called him, was 40 years old and far too young to be leaving this earth. He was simply one of the best people I have ever known, and anyone that knew him would echo that sentiment. He lived to serve others and was always happiest when he could drop everything and help someone else.
My Dad, my brother, and I spent all of our formative years as a triumvirate doing anything and everything we could do outdoors. Hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, etc., you name it, and we did it. We shared the same passions and hobbies and had dreams of one-day going elk hunting together and were looking forward to lots of fun times with our families camping in the mountains.
In preparation for today’s blog post, I read many quotes and did a lot of praying. I uncovered so many great words of wisdom in my research, and I had a hard time choosing the right one. Ultimately I decided on this quote because it reminded me that while it is risky to love intensely, it is the act of loving someone else that provides healing. I chose to love, and I have been overwhelmed by the love and support that I have received from so many people in response to Grayson’s death. I have never felt more loved, and I consider myself blessed to have so many people in my life than can love so strongly.
Life is short, precious, and beautiful. We cannot and should not take one moment or one relationship for granted. Hug those you love tighter tonight, and make sure they know exactly how much you care. It is only through love, intense love, that you will find the strength to carry on in immense sorrow.
I love you Grayson, and I am going to miss you. I’ll see you in Heaven, brother…
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4
Grayson is survived by his wife, Donna, and their two children James (11) and Marie (9). If you want to do something for them, I created a GoFundMe page for the kid’s college education, and you can learn more about that at this GoFundMe Link.
“Carry out a random act of kindness with no expectation of reward.”
Fear, doubt and worry are all ultimately rooted in self. What is going to happen to me? How will I manage if something bad happens? Granted, you might be worried about others and what the implications are for them, but the center of the worry is a focus on self.
Instead of devoting energy today to things that are outside of your control, instead focus on finding someone else to love. Give a part of yourself away. It can be as simple as a smile to another person to another person on the street, paying for the meal of the person in the drive-thru line behind you, picking up groceries for a neighbor that isn’t able to leave their home, etc.
The point is to intentionally and purposefully find ways to give a tiny piece of yourself away. Look for ways to do good. Seek opportunities to serve. Focus on what you can do for someone else. Not because of what you are going to get in return, but because we all share the same human condition of being slaves to self. Follow the principle Paul spoke of in his letter to the church of Corinth.
‘Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. ‘
2 Corinthians 9:7-8
Break those bond of slavery to self through fear, doubt and worry and seek to sow the seeds of love in your actions today.
“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”
There truly is no such thing as an “overnight success.” Sure, luck or chance can play a role, but one has to be ready for those opportunities when they arise. You can’t look at someone who happened to win the lottery as successful. Winning the lottery isn’t success, that is just being incredibly lucky against the odds, though based on all the research on the unhappiness of lottery winners I am not certain it is all that lucky…
I think it is important to remember that “success” is, or should be, internally defined, not externally defined based on whatever the world has decided success should look like. An artist who devotes their life to capturing a certain quality of light in their paintings is successful if they achieve their goal and are happy with the result. They might never sell a single painting, but they weren’t working and sacrificing in order to sell their work, they invested their time, effort and energy because they loved the work itself.
How do you define success? Is it through the lens of the modern world? Money, fame, fortune? Or is your definition of success based on something internal and intrinsic to oneself? Can you consider yourself successful if you are never rich and famous? What is it that you want to achieve, and will follow the recipe mentioned in this quote above to accomplish?
Regardless of how you define success, and what it is that you want to achieve, you can’t get there without demonstrating the attributes of “hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” These principles apply to everything in life, your marriage, your hobbies, your family relationships, your work, your projects, etc.
What stands out to me the most is this, if you don’t “love what you are doing or learning to do,” you are going to have a hard time generating the energy necessary to do all the other things required to make yourself successful.
Take the time to define your success and ensure that you truly love what it is you are doing. Then the hard work won’t feel quite so hard.
“If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.”
What is it that you love to do? Have you found a way to make a living from it? So many people in this world have “jobs” that they do to simply earn a living. If you can find the beautiful intersection between a calling, a passion, and God gifted purpose you are a lucky soul indeed.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Perhaps you aren’t lucky at all, perhaps you are just blessed…