Thursday, 29 December 2016

Not What but Who

After months of asking Brandon (my husband) to write a guest post for The Days to Come, he finally delivered. And after months of having his post sit in my documents, it is finally going up! I hope you enjoy this quick read as you move into 2017. 



A guy named James coined a proverb once - ‘Life is but a vapour, here today and gone tomorrow.’ This concept haunts me. I want my life to matter, I want it to last beyond my last breathe here on planet earth. 

Now that I am a few months into being a ‘quarter of a century old’ I am learning that a century isn’t that long.

The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon featured 'GE Fallonventions' where a seventeen year old kid invented a standing wheelchair. Although incredible, he is not an anomaly. Twelve year olds curing diseases, twenty year olds closing out Major League Baseball games - these accomplishments are not completely uncommon. 

This leads me to ask the question, “What am I doing with my life?"

Certainly I can list off a few things that I’ve accomplished in these twenty-five years. From being an OFSAA cross country runner to being an All Ontario Hockey Champion. From marrying an incredible women to completing my bachelor’s degree. I am the pastor of a thriving church called The Embassy and the father to a beautiful daughter. I even know how to drive a stick shift.

One of the most meaningful things anyone has ever said to me occurred when I was 16. My Dad and I had just finished a run, most of our best conversations happened when it was just the two of us on open roads. Huffing and puffing my dad looked at me and said, “I’m proud of you, I know you’re not eighteen yet but I already consider you a man.”

My sixteen year old self was shocked, ecstatic, and beaming with pride. Did my Dad just call me a man?

Since that day, I’ve learned that it was silly for my Dad to have called me a man. What had I really accomplished at the tender age of sixteen? My drivers license. That’s it.

How can you call me a man when there are twelve year olds curing diseases!?

I have lived most of my life comparing myself to others. I have an undergrad degree but my wife has a master’s degree. I was one of the top athletes in central ontario but one of my competitors just became a national champion. Yes, I did this BUT they did that.

Essentially I have spent most of my life comparing accomplishment to accomplishment. 

My Dad understood something different. In his corporate/manufacturing world, accomplishments are a dime a dozen. It is character that is the distinguishing factor. 

It is that shift, the shift of focusing more on character than accomplishments that has rocked my world. My newly born daughter does not need a dad who pastors a church of thousands of people, she needs a dad who is willing to listen. My wife doesn’t need a real estate tycoon as a husband, she needs a man of integrity. My parents don’t need a son who travels the world speaking on leadership, they need a boy who is willing to call home and have a conversation.

Can you imagine a culture that encouraged people around their character instead of their accomplishments?

I’m not talking about a society that hands out participation ribbons - competition has its place in building character - I’m imagining a world that values WHO an individual is MORE than WHAT an individual does. 

Maybe that’s the world where we have two candidates for presidency that are not Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton. Maybe that’s the world where we don’t have people celebrating the deaths of 50 killed in a nightclub. Maybe that’s the world our kids can create.

Yes, I’m proud of my list of accomplishments that accompany my time here on earth so far but I am even more satisfied with who I am. Maybe this vapour will actually leave some residue on this planet after all but my hope is that it is less about WHAT I do and more about WHO I am. 

I am grateful for my parents who continue to blaze that trail for me - a dad who called out my true character at 16 - and now it is my turn to do it for my kids. 

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