On the day I turned 10 years old, I had something of an 'aha' moment. I remember pondering the fact that at point in my life I had travelled around the sun 10 times. 10 winters, 10 springs, 10 summers and 10 falls, over half of them spent in Ignace, Ontario. In my 10 year old mind, it seemed like that everyone one of those trips took a long, long time.
I begin trip #50 around the sun today. They don't seem to take as long as they used to. On the contrary, it feels as though time has accelerated in so many ways. Where my summers at 10 were filled with vacations, lake days and trips to the farm, today my summers are filled with shuttling sons to baseball, travelling to speak in churches with a couple of weeks of downtime at the beach. Gone are the 'farmer tan' arms that used to mark my summer seasons. When I was 10, I thought I might want to have an 'outside' job. After 30 years of working, I'll say that there's nothing wrong with an outside job, but I am really thankful for an 'inside' career on days when the rain is going sideways.
As part of my job at one point along the way, I met an elderly lady named Mrs. Wilson. When you asked her how old she was, she would respond by telling you what 'year' she was in vs. what birthday she last celebrated. When she was 89, she spent a whole year telling everyone that she was in her 90th year. With respect to Mrs. Wilson, I've been thinking a lot about what I want to accomplish in my 50th year. I know enough about human nature in general and my nature in particular to know that the likelihood of achieving the things that I want to accomplish increases dramatically if I write them down and tell someone. These are in no particular order. Consider this both the writing and the telling.
1) I want to complete a book. I've been thinking, talking and dreaming about this for a long time. Somewhere on a CD or hard drive the 'bones' of the book already exist in file form. I am not getting any younger or any less busy. I will complete my book before my 50th birthday.
2) I've lost just over 20lbs this year through changing my diet and by exercise. I competed in my first half marathon with a respectable time of 2:05:30. Before I am 50 years old, I'd like to lose another 10lbs, complete a marathon and challenge the same Half Marathon in the fall and come in under 2:00.
3) I will become 'kinder and gentler'. I have heard two statements about other people that have challenged me significantly in the past few weeks. The first is that apologizing doesn't mean you are wrong. It means you care enough about the relationship to do whatever it takes to preserve it. That has been very challenging. I heard the 2nd statement at a funeral yesterday. 'He combated thorns by planting roses.' If nothing else, I'd like to give myself to planting roses in the lives of other people. They look good, smell nice and communicate value.
4) I need to 'go deeper' in my walk with Christ. The longer I do what I do, I come to the conclusion that in order to do this well, I need to become much more like Jesus. At a distance, 'what would Jesus do?' is easily answered. The longer I am engaged in this role, the more elusive the answer becomes because this is not a black and white world and yes to some good things often means 'no' to other good things. I need to dig deeper wells that will sustain and renew me as I serve where I do.
5) By this time next year, I want to see Leading Influence established in at least one other province. We are at a place where it's time to take the next step. In order to do that, we need to find entrepreneurial, risk taking leaders who are willing to take on this kind of a challenge. It's not easy, but it's very worthwhile! It's time to get it done.