It’s easy for me to start apologizing to my wife and loved ones for all the trouble I have caused them over the past year by getting sick. It’s easy for me to feel a mixture guilt, sadness, and shame. It’s easy for me to say, “I’m sorry for ruining our life.” That’s when my wife is quick to reply, “You haven’t ruined our life; this is our life!” That positive, optimistic frame is the one I want to celebrate and bring to you today in this Provision. Whatever your challenges, this is your life! So rejoice, give thanks, and sing.
I may be a bit biased but I think my grandson has fantastic parents. On July 16th of last year my first grandchild – Everest Gray Tschannen – was born. And he could not have been born into a more attentive, proud, loving, and caring family. Everyone thinks the world of him and, although I am actually more than a bit biased, it’s hard for me to imagine that there could be a much more adorable and capable baby on the planet. J
One reason I know that to be true is not only that I get to visit and play with him regularly, since we live only about two hours away, but also that his parents produce a month-by-month online video of his growth and development, replete with music and all manner of cute enhancements made possible by Animoto. Those videos are quite delightful and I’m sure they will be treasured by him forever when he comes of age – after first going though a period of feeling rather embarrassed by the whole thing. “Oh, come on, mom!” I can just hear him saying. “How could you!”
That’s when he will settle in and start watching them with full engagement and increasing delight. I know that’s how they impact me and it would certainly bring me great pleasure, now that my mother has died, to be able to hear her voice and to see her again as modern technology makes possible so easily. Given that Everest’s mother, my daughter-in-law, is a fantastic teacher and now uses those skills to raise Everest and to tutor elementary-school students, it’s really a delight to see how she utilizes learning games to evoke full engagement, smiles, and the kind of progress that all parents hope and strive for with their children.
Yet life is full of setbacks and they are often unexpected. Tell me about that! The twists and turns of my life over the past 13 months could not have been more unexpected or undesired. No one, with any heart at all, would want this for anyone. But these are the cards I have been dealt right now and I, together with my family and friends, are doing our best to make the best of them. Thanks to them, and a whole host of medical professionals, I am still on the trek of life and I still strive to make a valuable contribution to the enhancement of life. That journey and such striving bring me great joy and delight.
My wife, Megan, is the person who stands front and center when it comes to our getting through the struggles of the past 13 months. She has carried me through them all with her faithful love, attentive caring, and hopeful presence. She really has embodied those eternal words of the Apostle Paul in the thirteenth chapter of his first letter to the church at Corinth:
“If I speak in the tongues of humans and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all that I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned as some kind of sacrifice, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For now we know in part and we prophesy in part, but eventually, when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, however, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then we shall see face to face. Now we know in part; but then we shall know fully, even as we have been fully known.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
I hope we can all rise to that calling. When that happens, we will not experience and view life’s challenges and setbacks as failures to be regretted. We will view them as opportunities to be seized for learning, growth, and change. That’s what my wife, Megan, means every time she stops me short, shakes her head, and waves her hand whenever I start to apologize for ruining our lives. “You haven’t ruined our lives,” she reminds me, “this is our life.” No greater example of the Apostle Paul’s message could ever be found than that simple message: The greatest of these is love.
Coaching Inquiries: How do you understand and express love? Who has been the most faithful example of love in your life? How could you become that kind of example in someone else’s life? How could love help you to become more accepting and compassionate of the people who are in your life right now? Who could coach or become a partner with you to make it so?
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Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Form or Email Bob.
What a beautiful story in last week’s Provision, First Things First. And, what a wonderful reminder of what’s important in this life. As a labeled “workaholic”, I certainly needed this! My phone alarm goes off at 12:00 noon each day. When it goes off, I say a prayer for you and your continued recovery. Blessings! (Editor’s Note: Thanks! The hopes, prayers, and wisdom of many have kept me in the game.)
May you be filled with goodness, peace, joy, and health.
Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
President, LifeTrek Coaching International, www.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation, www.SchoolTransformation.com
Past President, International Association of Coaching, www.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a Time, Online Retailers
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