I caught myself complaining the other day. I had just gotten the news that a long time client had died at age 99. He was a brilliant, well respected man who raised a great family, served his country and led a deep, full life.
That call got me thinking about days gone by. As I reminisced about my childhood (and I had a magnificent childhood!) I began to feel resentful and a bit cheated. My mom was only 57 years old when she got to the bottom step of the stairway on the main floor of our Broomfield home, and collapsed as her heart exploded in her chest. I was 32 years old. My mom was a sparkling jewel of a woman; loving, joyful, sensitive, and a friend to anyone who needed one. I often wonder about the relationship she would have enjoyed with my wife, and my kids and grandkids.
Twelve years later, I was in Grand Junction for my son Eric’s U13 soccer tournament. As we drove closer to the field, I felt a strong, sharp pain in my chest. At the time, I thought I was having a heart attack, but the pain passed quickly and we made it safely to the game. As we watched the team warming up, I received a call from my brother that my dad had died of a heart attack that morning in a Copper Mountain health club after his morning workout. I was 44 years old. Looking back, I think the pain I experienced was God’s way of telling me about my dad. His official cause of death was “enlarged heart.” If you knew my dad, that was an accurate description of how he lived his life. He loved serving and helping people and his word was his bond.
That little “trip down memory lane” led me to look at the legacy my parents left. Now at age 60, I thought about the old hymn “Count Your Blessings.” I considered the wonderful, 34 year old law practice that is GLC, made up of honest, loyal, smart, hardworking individuals who love the work that we do for the amazing families we represent. I reflected on the incredible family with whom I have been blessed – a beautiful, loving, patient, strong woman crazy enough to say “yes,” three extraordinary, resilient young men who are college educated, love Jesus, adore their wives and children, and who are creating durable, generational legacies of their own.
At the end of the day, I realized that complaining is really not a strategy for success. Being grateful is.
I found that I was truly grateful not just for the time I had with my parents, two imperfect people with good hearts, but also for the empty cross, the empty tomb, my family and the remarkable families we help every day. Like the 99 year old gentleman whom I was honored to serve for several years. I’m also grateful for the scars on my body and on my heart, left as remnants of my life’s experiences, to show me where I have been, although not where I am going.
Truly, I have been blessed beyond measure.
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