Archives For Perspective

The finish line

January 12, 2015 — Leave a comment

What can a high school swim meet teach us about life?  It turns out, a lot.

This weekend I witnessed an eye opening event at out daughter’s swim meet.

It was held near Dallas in a state-of-the-art natatorium. There were hundreds of swimmers competing in two end-on-end 25 meter pools – one for the girls and one for the boys.

Most events had several heats – and the officials ran everything like clockwork. Splits and finish times were automatically displayed on the digital wall boards.

The results were parsed down to the 100th of a second.

Then it happened.

I looked down at the girl’s pool and saw one lone girl on the starting block for a 500 meter heat.

The officials at these meets select the heats based on past performance, grouping similarly performing swimmers in the same heat.

This girl was apparently in a class by herself.

The race started and she dove in and started her 500 meter race. I’m still learning about swimming, but for the non-swimmer – 500 meters is a long race in competitive swimming. we’re talking 10 laps or 20 lengths of a 50 meter pool!

It became clear that no records would be set with this heat. In addition, the swimmer had failed to position her goggles over her eyes – they were sitting on her forehead.

Finally, the bell rang for the last lap of the race. Nine laps down, one to go.

And that’s when I began to hear it. A building applause for this courageous swimmer. As she swam her final strokes of the race, hundreds of people in the building applauded.

It was a smile, swallow hard and clap louder moment.

– and it’s not unlike what we’re up against every day.

You see, what the entire building of people recognized this weekend was there is more to life than coming in first place.

This is a clarion call for us ordinary people.

It’s not about the getting there faster than everyone else.

The components to meaning, and achievement and life are courage, perseverance, the spirit to try something new and the will to see it through to the end.

Undisciplined talent may take the stage and flash brightly for a moment, but it is the glow of the courageous, perseverant “one-person-heat” folks that will illuminate this world with purpose and lasting achievement.

 

The Gift

December 22, 2014 — Leave a comment

Christmas.

A holiday centered around gifts.

No, around a gift, The Gift.

It was undeserved.

It was self-initiated.

It was personal.

It was sourced from Love.

It was sufficient.

 

May we move from understanding,

to knowing,

to receiving,

to embracing the Gift of Christmas.

 

Small Things

December 15, 2014 — 2 Comments
artist paint brushes

Image credit – John Ward/creative commons

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”
~Vincent Van Gogh

.
The cathedral rises to its grandeur, one stone at a time.
The company achieves success one customer after another.
Today’s workout is a critical part of a healthy tomorrow.
Your small act of kindness today is a brushstroke of your masterpiece entitled “Life”.

The small things that you do today, when repeated, will determine the scale and meaning of your future.

What small thing will you do today?

Fall Color

December 8, 2014 — 1 Comment

Red-Sapling-IMG_0463

I was riding my mountain bike this weekend when I stopped to take the above picture. I was struck with the brilliant splash of red that punctuated the drab surroundings.

This little sapling is responding to the changing seasons and the impending cold of winter with a dramatic display of color.

Is it possible for you and me to create our own splash of color in the midst our life experiences?

Can we choose to live our lives in such a way that we too, create an arresting image of beauty such that others stop and take note?

I believe that we can.

We live in a world that likes to focus on the dead dry leaves that blanket the ground around us. What if we decide to respond differently to the changes and pressures around us? What if we choose to view changes and challenges as opportunities?

Everyone can impact their world with beauty when they choose to see:

a closed door — as guidance toward a better suited opportunity.
a failed attempt — as a step toward discovering what will work.
a strained relationship — as an opportunity to deepen communication and understanding.
a new challenge — as a doorway to undiscovered skills and experiences.

This I know: Messieurs Change & Challenge will come calling on us all.

How we respond to these visitors will largely define the impact that we’ll have on the world around us!

Gratefulness

November 24, 2014 — Leave a comment
the mountain autumn landscape with colorful forest

Image credit: Leonid Tit/Bigstockphoto.com

Gratefulness.

No one can gift it to us.

We cannot give it to another.

It has only one recipient.

It is the best gift,
that we give ourselves.

Don’t let its price fool you.

When we embrace it,
it yields priceless treasure.

One question remains.

Will you be grateful today?

Simple Math

November 17, 2014 — Leave a comment
Number-79-creative-commons

Image credit: Creative Commons

78.8 years – that’s the average number of years that we are expected to live [1]. That doesn’t seem as old as it used to be. The seventies used to be reserved for grandparents and great-grandparents in my life.

I celebrated my 50th birthday this year (an age I once associated with my parents).
I’m a “glass-half-full” guy, so lets round up and expect a 79 year lifespan. That means I have:

29 Thanksgivings
29 Christmases
29 Birthdays
29 Wedding anniversaries
29 Summer vacations
29 Years to love and encourage my kids
29 Years to love and cherish my wife
29 Years to pay taxes!
29 Years filled with possibility
29 years to make a difference

Next year, the number 29 shrinks to a 28. The question is, “How will I live this next year?”. Will I seize it, cherish it? Will I see the opportunities? Will I realize those things that are most important? Will I eliminate those things that are non-essential, distracting, and not worthy of occupying one of the next 29 years?

I love to learn about productivity and efficiency. It seems I’m always challenging myself to get more work accomplished with less effort.

But here’s the deal, it’s senseless to focus all our time on getting great at things that don’t matter if it distracts us from that which is important.

Pursuing productivity makes sense if we become more efficient with the “trivial many” in order to gain more time for the “important few”.

The math is simple: 79 – current age = years left.

Will you live your “years left” with intention and purpose?

Do the math,

ponder your path,

live accordingly.


note [1] – USA Today – Life expectancy in the USA hits a record high

The Light of Christmas

December 28, 2013 — Leave a comment

Bigstock Candle In One Hand 5332771

Another Christmas has come and gone. For me, this holiday is like a mile-marker on the highway of life. Some of my strongest memories come from Christmas’s past. It serves as a grand finale of another year – and it kick-starts my thinking and planning for the next year.

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. So much is wrapped up in this holiday – besides gifts. For my family, we have more traditions surrounding this holiday than any other. There is special food that is only prepared during this season. One of my favorites is the spritz cookies that my wife and my mother only bake at Christmas time.

There are movies that we watch every Christmas. Classics like “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, “The Grinch” and “It’s a Wonderful Life”. We pile into the living room, build a fire in the fireplace and enjoy watching these for the umpteenth time.

It’s tradition to go walk through the Fantasy of Lights Christmas light display at the local university. We bundle up and walk past every animated display in the multi-acre wonderland.

Another Beshear family tradition is attending the Christmas Eve candle-light service at our church. The songs of Christmas fill the sanctuary and a peace slowly fills our hearts. We begin to focus our attention on the Christ child – the Christ of Christmas. There’s perhaps no clearer picture of the Light of the World than the silent spread of candlelight passed from person to person. His light, His love, can overcome any darkness.

As you plan for the new year, consider protecting the flame of Christmas. What would happen if we continued to focus on the needs and desires of others? How would we change if we sought, day in and day out, to delight those we serve and love? How much richer would your 2014 be if you kept the flame alive and continued to spread the Light of Christmas?

Finish Strong Friday

November 8, 2013 — Leave a comment

Bigstock Blurred motion of excited fema 36543904

Life has its ebb and flow.

There are times to sow, and times to reap.

There are times to work, and times to play.

Focused Fridays precede Super Saturdays.

Here’s to Finish Strong Friday.

 

The Sky Painter

September 20, 2013 — Leave a comment

Image September Sunrise

Sometimes the boldest messages are so easily ignored. Consider the largest billboard of our day. The Sky Painter seeks to inspire, encourage and communicate with his palette of hues and diversity of brush-strokes.

Early risers are often rewarded with a brilliant masterpiece hung in the eastern sky. Every second, the canvas changes with new expressions of light and color. It’s as if the Sky Painter longs to infuse color, beauty and wonder into our day – to remind us that we can echo, that we can propagate this beauty in and through our own work as the day unfolds.

I believe he wants to be among the first impressions on our often busy days. The morning message is clear, but brief – the sky quickly fades – it is as if he is saying, “It’s your turn now – what beauty will you create today?”

And then, as each day closes, the Sky Painter begins again. Sometimes the colors are more pastel – to gently remind us of his presence. As the magnum opus develops in the western sky, it is his best work for that day – never to be repeated. It beckons us to become centered – to release the troubles and challenges of the day. If we look, if we listen, he speaks through his waning canvas to whisper order and transcendent beauty into our soul.

This rhythm of the skies quietly frames our days with bold strokes of color and silver lined edges. We can easily let the tyranny of the urgent arrest our attention. On those days, we trudge and tromp and stomp through the day, unaware of our potential. The Sky Painter offers show-stopping beauty to woo us back from the grind, from the busyness of life, and toward a greater awareness of what is and what could be.