Leaders Leading Leaders
I had been working much too long on this job. I guess things could have been worse. I certainly wasn’t doing hard labor. But going door to door asking questions as a representative of the federal government wasn’t the most satisfying position either.
It was August. It was hot. I had to wear a tie.
“Hello. My name is Bob Perks and we are doing a survey in this neighborhood…”
“I’m not interested! Good bye!”…slam, lock.
You can’t imagine how many times I heard that. I finally caught on and began with “Before you slam the door, I am not selling anything and I just need to ask a few questions about yourself and the community.”
The young woman inside the doorway, paused for a moment, raised her eyebrows as she shrugged her shoulders confused by my rude introduction.
“Sure. Come on in. Don’t mind the mess. It’s tough keeping up with my kids.”
It was an older home in a section of the valley where people with meager income found affordable shelter. With the little they had, the home looked comfortable and welcoming.
“I just need to ask a few questions about yourself and family. Although this may sound personal I won’t need to use your names. This information will be used…”
She interrupted me. “Would you like a glass of cold water? You look like you’ve had a rough day.”
“Why yes!” I said eagerly. Just as she returned with the water, a man came walking in the front door. It was her husband. “Joe, this man is here to do a survey.” I stood and politely introduced myself.
Joe was tall and lean. His face was rough and aged looking although I figured he was in his early twenties. His hands were like leather. The kind of hands you get from working hard, not pushing pencils. She leaned toward him and kissed him gently on the cheek. As they looked at each other you could see the love that held them together. She smiled and tilted her head, laying it on his shoulder. He touched her face with his hands and softly said “I love you!”
They may not have had material wealth, but these two were richer than most people I know. They had a powerful love. The kind of love that keeps your head up when things are looking down. “Joe works for the borough.” she said. “What do you do?” I asked. She jumped right in not letting him answer. “Joe collects garbage. You know I’m so proud of him.” “Honey, I’m sure the man doesn’t want to hear this.” said Joe. “No, really I do.” I said. “You see Bob, Joe is the best garbage man in the borough.
He can stack more garbage on the truck than anyone else. He gets so much in one truck that they don’t have to make as many runs.”, she said with such passion. “In the long run,” Joe continues, “I save the borough money. Man hours are down and the cost per truck is less.
ONE STEP FURTHER
Do more than exist: live.
Do more than touch: feel.
Do more than look: observe.
Do more than read: absorb.
Do more than hear: listen.
Do more than listen: understand.
Do more than think: reflect.
Do more than just talk: say something.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Behold, children are a heritage from theLord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate
No pressure, no diamonds.”
“When one ceases from conflict, whether because he has won, because he has lost, or because he cares no more for the game, the virtue passes out of him.”
Charles Horton Cooley
“The more we run from conflict, the more it masters us; the more we try to avoid it, the more it controls us; the less we fear conflict, the less it confuses us; the less we deny our differences, the less they divide us.”
I don’t want this to come across as arrogant. I simply want to share a friend’s post who expressed what a lot of military families are feeling. Clarksville is a close knit community with an amazing connection between military and local civilians. Unfortunately, a lot of military families are frustrated with social media posts that essentially say, “Our year is ruined.”
Read this carefully and consider what we’ve lived for the past 19 years. I missed both my grandmother’s funerals. I missed four anniversaries, countless birthdays, Christmas several times. And I looked my wife in the eyes many times and said, “I’ll see you in a year,” as toddlers clung to her leg.
She then held her breath on every FOX and CNN headline about soldiers being killed in action.
I hope, if nothing else, many Americans see the sacrifices our service men and women make. We do not want pity. We just want everyone to better appreciate the freedoms we defend and what that price truly is.
So many people have said, “I don’t know how military families do it”. Well, now most of the world has a small taste of what it’s like.
Birthdays can’t be celebrated as you like. Vacations have to be canceled at the last minute. You have no idea a date you can plan anything. Emotions all over the place. Unknown future state of life.
“Here’s a plan. No, scratch that, this is the plan. Wait, that’s changing, this is the plan, yes, this is it.”
Oh, things are more serious than what we thought. The plan is this and we will update you with a revised plan as we go.”
All holidays cancelled.
You can’t see your family.
You miss saying goodbye to a person when they die.
You miss a funeral.
You miss a wedding.
You miss your Anniversary.
You either embrace the suck or you lose your mind and happiness.
You can’t see your kids or grandkids.
You missed another entire season of sports.
The government pretty much dictates your life.
People are in danger.
On the positive side…
You appreciate what you have.
You make the best of situations.
Dates on a calendar are just that and you celebrate things when you can. You realize what’s really important in life.
You celebrate 4 holidays/birthdays at once. You no longer judge people for having Christmas lights/trees up “odd” times of the year because you realize people do what they can, when they can.
Once your life gets back to “normal” you appreciate everything more. You realize it’s ok there was a not so epic birthday because your perspective has shifted on what’s important.
You lean on your family.
You lean on your friends.
Your normal changes and you adjust.
You’re stronger because of your struggle.
In the end, it will all be ok. Even with tragedy here and there.
You will be stronger in the end of this journey. You will not be able to see it in the storm. You’ll feel weak, defeated and not sure how you can make it. When it’s over and the storm ends, you’ll stand taller, stronger, more capable and appreciative of what you have.
That’s the life America’s sons and daughters have been living for almost 20 years now.