My parents are in town for a week. Parkinson’s makes it difficult for my father to travel and he doesn’t do well out of his routine but I needed them and they came.
Life Lesson #1: Ask for what you need. Don’t expect to get what you want but ask for what you need.
I wanted to do something special for them while they’re here so I asked them if there is anyone in particular they would like to see in the DC area. They gave me a few names of people – intimate friends – people who feel like home. Some of them joined us for a few hours last night.
Life Lesson #2: “Home” is not places but people. The comfort of your childhood living room can be revisited in the embrace of an old friend.
We assembled in the lounge of a hotel nearby. The first to arrive was a wrestler from the class of 1991. A product of my father’s high school in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, though over 30 years a part. President of FCA at West Point, a constant presence in our home. Two more couples came. First, leaders in their life and in their faith. He a strong, calm presence. She an effervescent joy that heals the soul.
The second family are generational friends – parents, children, grandchildren… Our families bound together by faith, hope, service and sacrifice. For years, their Thayer Road home was our family base when we’d return to the Academy for visits. They feel like home.
Life Lesson #3: Relationships rooted in Faith are like a house built on a rock.
“And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.”
The last guest was a grad from the early 1980’s that my father had craved a reunion with for over 20 years. He was a surprise guest – a gift I could give thanks to my stalking abilities and social media presence. 20 years but as a day….
Life Lesson #4: Stalking works. (oh, wait. Don’t do that, kids.)
Life Lesson #4.5: Reach out.
Don’t be afraid of rejection. If it happens, you’ll use the spiritual muscle you’ve been honing to deal with it.
A recent study said the only regret people have is NOT taking a chance. What are you waiting for? What are you afraid of? You’ve been through worse. Don’t let fear paralyze you. Life is too short. You can handle whatever comes. Reach out. Be brave. Be Bold. Love hard.
We had other reunions. A former cadet from the class of 1988 – one of my first “big brothers” that I haven’t seen in 20 years stopped in while passing through town.
And a few weeks ago we reunited with a super special couple (whose son was one of my favorite guys growing up) – people that are more than family. (is there such a thing?) Sometimes family is the what we’re born into. Sometimes family is what we put together ourselves. Love them both.
Life Lesson #5: Love more. Love harder.
Like an athlete playing his last game of the last season, lay it all on the field. Like the last quarter mile of a race, sprint to the finish. Run to win.