I just settled in at home (and finally my own bed) after a long business trip in Las Vegas. While I enjoy my role as a union delegate for SMART – Transportation Division (formerly United Transportation Union) and I get a great deal of satisfaction being an active part of the collective bargaining process, it can be exhausting. I know a lot of you can relate. The hectic daily lives we lead take a toll on our minds and body. And if you are like me, there is always SOMETHING to do. Phone calls, productions, management, promotions, relationship, fatherhood, mentoring…it never ends because the journey toward a fulfilling, successful life never ends (at least it shouldn’t in my opinion).
I stayed at Caesar’s Palace Casino Hotel in the heart of the Vegas strip. Walking back and forth through the casinos, dodging thousands (literally thousands) of people on the street to find a meal that would not cost me a month’s mortgage, breathing in second hand smoke and hearing the deafening bells, whistles, alarms of the slot machines all while surrounded by the tense faces of gamblers praying for the jackpot, that one big win that will change their lives…if it ever comes, I thought I would go crazy. I needed an escape!
I drove 22 miles. I left the above scenario in the rear view and made my way to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservative Area. As I approached the landmark site I felt the difference almost immediately! I paid the $7 to enter and began a 13 mile scenic drive that transformed my focus. For the price of a bagel on the strip, I was surrounded by God’s work! For the cost of a small Starbucks coffee I felt his presence in the most spectacular scenery! The rock formations, the amazing colors of the mountains, the massive landscape reminding me how big and how awesome God is! It was a much needed reality check and a reminder, the important things in life, the moments that have the most meaning and power do not cost much (If anything at all). Some folks are so busy trying to fill voids and insecurities with material possessions and trying to keep up with the Jones’ by wearing uncomfortable “Red Bottoms” and buying mansions and luxury cars they can barely afford, that they don’t even realize the feeling they get from these trophies” is temporary. Meantime, in one simple, inexpensive drive, I gained perspective, understanding, deepened my faith and most importantly gave my mind and body a much needed rest.
I’ll take all that over a momentary, materialistic fix any day. When you can wrap your brain around what truly matters in life, that is when you really begin to live a life that matters.
My Dad used to tell me not to wish my life away by praying it was Friday, or wishing for a day that was a ways off. Great advice. So many of us don’t take the time to appreciate the moment, the day, the experience (good or bad). In “Life Is Not Complicated” I talk a great deal about not letting the challenges of life make you lose sight of the meaning of life. And I don’t just mean the major tragedies. Understandably, loss in any capacity, will shake you to the core. And neither I, nor anyone else has the right to tell you how to feel or how to cope. However, I’m also referring to the little annoyances that make us wish a day would just “end”. Bad work day, minor disagreements, kids misbehaving, unexpected expenses… I get it. Any and all of the above could have us wishing for the moment on Monday when we can say TGIF! Don’t lose sight of the blessing of the moment. No matter what, look to your friends, pastor, priest, even family to encourage and support you and let you know while it may seem insurmountable at the time…your life, your today, your moment still matters. One of my favorite quotes is, “What if you woke up today with only the things you gave thanks for yesterday?” It’s all about perspective.
I woke up this morning and I gave thanks for my life, despite the emptiness I feel at the absence of my parents and grandparents. Despite the fact that in the last month I have lost dear loved ones, and in the past three weeks I have had some issues with my publishing company which have resulted in the delay of hundreds of books reaching eager buyers. I have my obstacles and my moments too. That is one of- if not the most- important message I will ever convey about this book. I am not perfect. My upbringing was not perfect, my life was (and is) certainly not perfect. I would never try to portray myself as some foremost authority on life or facing challenges. However, through my personal experiences, growth, relationships and desire not to let my life become meaningless or a drag, I developed a coping method that works for me. I can attest to the fact that overcoming is indeed possible; standing strong, possible; persevering possible; becoming better no matter what your circumstance or the opinions of others, possible.
Nothing in life is promised. Each day is a valuable opportunity to play an important role in this world. Treat each moment like it’s the performance of a lifetime; approach every show like it’s your first, respect it as if you’ve invested years, appreciate it like it’s your last. ~Life Is Not Complicated, You Are
I won’t stand on a soap box and pontificate about how I choose to think positively and take on my days like a Gladiator, wielding swords at my challenges, waiting on the Universe to decide: “thumbs up”, let challenge live; “thumbs done”, finish them”! No. … Continue reading Life Is Not Complicated, you always have options…