Things That Matter…STILL Matter!
By Stephen Doherty
“Once we let go of all the things that don’t matter,
we discover all of the things that really do.” –Joshua Becker
If nothing else, a look back at 2020 is a stark reminder that any calm day can quickly devolve into a destructive nightmare with the arrival of unexpected cataclysm. Between the pandemic, economic, societal and cultural upheaval, and the predictable political defecations-most Americans are glad to bid 2020 a relieved farewell. Me? I’ve always believed that the challenges we face together, ultimately bring us closer and make us stronger. I still believe that, perhaps now more than ever before. While none of us wish for strife and hardship, who among us isn’t a better person for having dealt with adversity and misfortune? I’m looking forward to 2021 with excitement and optimism–not backwards with sorrow and regret.
My daughter and I watched Schindler’s List today. Anyone who has seen it cannot come away unaffected by the magnitude of the cruelty and carnage of the Nazis. The concept of “suffering” takes on an unprecedented magnitude as does the definition of victim, as we bear witness to the closest semblance of Hell imaginable on this earth. It’s a chilling reminder that “there, but for the grace of God, go I…” Amidst this horrific suffering, we also are reminded of the power of human pride and dignity and spiritual strength.
Why would I start the new year with such a grim flashback? I’ll tell you why. The main reason that I memorialize my thoughts and observations is always within the framework of my role as a father. The exchange of meaningful ideas and discussions is the gift that keeps on giving and someday, all my musings and random thoughts will be a coffee table reminder of the many things we discussed that were meaningful and impactful. Part of my job, the role of any father, is to help their kids blend the best of their current worlds with the priceless traditions and legacies of their American heritage and who and what came before.
I start my day on my knees thanking God for one more sunrise in the greatest nation that has ever existed on this planet. It’s still amazing to me what’s possible if you just put your shoes on, grab a cup of coffee, and head out the door. I measure my net worth by the priceless trifecta of good friends, loving family, and decent health. I’ve come to understand that humility, accountability, and vulnerability-are today’s superpowers. I’ve learned that we can’t control all that happens to us but that we can control how we respond. I believe that identifying as a “victim” in this world, ever, is an insurmountable Scarlet Letter that forever stains our spirit.
In the end, the metric that defines me above all else, and the one I seek to impress upon my kids, is the simple belief that our lives, with few exceptions, are the sum total of our choices. Period. Being born in America was a geographical lottery ticket that grants us the freedoms and liberties to make those choices but ultimately, we own them and the ensuing results. My life has been marvelous, with just the right balance of raging success and miserable failure. Success is better. My best wishes to all for continued success and prosperity in 2021. Own the gap between what matters and what you can control–and all things become possible.
“There are far, far better things ahead
than anything we leave behind.” –C.S. Lewis