Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Clarity...From The Sunset Chairs

DId you ever have a brief moment of clarity?

That singular moment where you step out of your day-in, day-out routine to catch a rare glimpse at how your life is truly unfolding?

I had that on my birthday.  May 15, 2011. The day I turned 42. 

Surely this was a God-given gift where He showed with utmost clarity how my current life is way beyond what I could have ever dreamt for....how blessed my life really is...

...and that I am ignoring, and at risk of abandoning, all I have because I'm serving a vague notion of 'career advancement'...trying to impress important people with impressive titles.

Here's what I saw:



Our sunset chairs.

Empty.

Ready.

Waiting.    (even the cat was waiting)

It was like the sunset chairs were speaking to me.

First they were blunt: 

"Look at this beautiful patch of land, this home that you love! Listen to the music you create! Look at that amazing woman you married and those four terrific kids? Why are you ignoring all that?!? Why are they a 'distraction' to you? What about the reservoir behind those trees? Why haven't you had an adventure with your kids there lately? What's wrong with you!?!"

My response? 

"I'm not happy. I'm worried about impressing people, fearing an uncertain future, and lost in a swirl of goals and aspirations that seem to be blocked by the current culture of our company. I've got a mortgage that won't quit, and I want to be accomplishing something important and I need to focus on that."

Then the sunset chairs sighed and used a more gentle voice.

"Sit down. Lets take a look at what's truly important that you're missing"

...and then I saw, clearly, like a film was lifted from my eyes, what I am missing that is truly important...

  • Sunsets with my wife...
  • Eagles soaring by...longing to be seen...
  • Fog caressing the valley...
  • Dew dropping from the leaves...
  • Secrets shared between me and my daughters...young son...teenage son...wife...
  • Hands held...
  • Hearts mended...
  • Family playing...
  • Frisbees thrown...
  • Baseballs caught...
  • Campfires lit...
  • Laughter echoing...
  • Stories told...
  • Devotions studied...
  • Prayers lifted...
  • Inspiration gained...
  • Adventures started....
  • Tears shed...and wiped...smiles returning...
  • Love given...received...surrounding...

Then I asked, "But what about that mortgage, cars to maintain, monthly bills to pay?"

Their response?

"They are not seen from the Sunset Chairs. All that is behind you could grow, shrink, burn, cease to exist, be sold, traded, or moved to another country. What is truly important...what you need to focus on...is what you see...who you see...

...from the Sunset Chairs."

~~~~~~

How about you? What do you see from your Sunset Chairs?

10 comments:

  1. this is amazing.
    you are amazing.
    our life is amazing.

    I hope we don't ever get so busy that we miss out on a moment in those chairs together.

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  2. keep sitting in those chairs you two!

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  3. You got right to the place I did. Once it's simplified in your head, it seems like such an amazing idea. Life tends to get in the way of the things that truly matter the most! The funny thing is, it's those people that have inspired you the whole time and they will always be your no. 1 advocate.

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  4. Instantly brought this song to mind:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCbWnjs_HGQ

    AP wrote it about where he lives and I have felt like this being in our forest.

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  5. Jen, This whole thought process inspired me to write a song about it as well...I'm half done and will certainly share. Thanks for your comment!

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  6. Carrie, yep...totally agree.

    The hardest part for me now is how to act on this clarity. Not sure I'm as brave as you :-)

    In a book I'm reading, the illustration was at a performance review: worker decided to limit work to 40 hrs a week. At the end of the year he got 3K less of a bonus. He calculated that through the year, he would have only made $3 an hour by working 55 hrs a week...so he looked at it as PAYING $3 per hour to spend quality time with his family...which any of us would do.

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  8. Wow... the only word that comes to mind is Profound!

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  9. Greg, this was a good one....I thought of it a couple of times today. Like Jen, I though of a song when I read this, too: This is Your Life by Switchfoot. I like to ask myself the question from the song..."are you who you want to be?". I thought of your blog again tonight at sunset with my wife on the boat....our sunset chairs :-) Thanks again for the thought provoking post.

    --Dan

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  10. You are such a great writer, Greg. It is so admirable of you to put your thoughts "out in public" also. "Our sunset chairs" idea in MN was dad and I going for breakfast at The Original Pancake place each Saturday morning to hash over our week. Panera just opened a place at Sumter Landing, so we went there last Sat. in our golf cart for breakfast, and a couple we bike with arrived at the same time...7:30 and they asked if they could join us. So, for me it is taking time to do things with and for those you love and care about. Can't wait to be with you and the family...coming soon..Love, Mom!!

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