I write this blog with a heavy heart as my Poppy Gennes died today. I share this with you because the lesson is work/life balance.
“Dealing with our grief and our loss does not need to be depressing. It can be one of the most uplifting, inspirational, and deeply meaningful moments of our lives. It is a moment ripe in opportunity to let go of all our pettiness and pretenses that kept us locked in its grip and frees us at last to get back to what we are here to do, and that is to love.”
Rev. Sam Goff
The following is a chapter from “The Dash… Making a Difference With Your Life,” by Linda Ellis and Mac Anderson.
“True and Real
Knowing yourself, finding your true purpose in life, is the essence of true and real. “You have to be, before you do, to have lasting inner peace.” In other words, making a living is not the same as making a life. Find what makes your heart sing and create your own music.
Many people work all their lives and dislike what they do for a living. In fact, I was astounded to see a recent USA Today survey that said 53 percent of people in the American workplace are unhappy with their jobs. Loving what you do is one of the most important keys to living a “true and real” Dash.
You can’t fake passion. It is the fuel that drives any dream and makes you happy to be alive. However, the first step to loving what you do is to self-analyze, to simply know what you love. We all have unique talents and interests, and one of life’s greatest challenges is to match these talents with career opportunities that bring out the best in us. It’s not easy — and sometimes we can only find it through trial and error — but it’s worth the effort.
Ray Kroc, for example, found his passion when he founded McDonald’s at the age of 52. He never “worked” another day of his life.
John James Audubon was unsuccessful for most of his life. He was a terrible businessman. No matter how many times he changed locations, changed partners, or changed businesses, he still failed miserably. Not until he understood that he must change himself did he have any shot at success.
And what changes did Audubon make? He followed his passion. He had always loved the outdoors and was an excellent hunter. In addition, he was a good artist and, as a hobby, would draw local birds.
Once he stopped trying to be a businessman and started doing what he loved to do, his life turned around. He traveled the country observing and drawing birds, and his art ultimately was collected in a book titled “Audubon’s Birds of America.” The book earned him a place in history as the greatest wildlife artist ever. But more importantly, the work made him happy and provided the peace of mind he’d been seeking all his life.”
I will miss you so, my dearest Poppy, but wish you peace on your journey as we continue to travel together. You will always be present in the laughter, the love, and the memories in our lives. In our family, you have helped to weave a most beautiful tapestry of brightly colored, strong, and uniquely woven threads.
The wind has brought us together, as unlikely as that might seem. Our life wasn’t a straight path, but rather many twists of faith that had us dance together. We are separated physically for now, but we are inexorably intertwined and always together.
Whether we danced for just this life or will be together again matters not. For my life, and the lives of those whom I hold most dear, have been made better and blessed by your presence. You are a father to me in practical terms. You loved my brother, his wife, and my nieces as if they were your own. You shared yourself with my cousins in California. You welcomed whatever we brought forth. You witnessed our struggle and comforted our burden in building a business and creating a life. Our children had the irreplaceable, unconditional love of a grandfather that helped to develop the strong roots of their mighty trees. There are pieces now in each of us that reflect all that is you.
As the wind blows and leaves dance, and we are taken down uncertain paths, know that Poppy’s gentle presence hovers near us, as it always has. Our sorrow will become memories that keep us constant company as we walk through our lives. Poppy’s laughter, life, loves, thoughtfulness, warmth, and accomplishments, as well as the difference he made with just his being, cannot be taken from us. These are the things that will strengthen our own being as the wind carries us down the years.
We can fight and brace ourselves against the wind, but in the end like the leaves of the mighty oak, we will surrender to its tug. Poppy’s tug has been of simplicity and grace. Poppy always knew when to hold them and when to fold them. My wish is that each of us takes under our wing a wisp of Poppy’s whisper and let the wind fly us to places unimagined.
Look up each night and know that we all sleep under the same big sky. Find that star which shines so brightly that it could only be Poppy shining his light upon us, as he always has.
“The Dash Between the Dates”
Copyright Sonny B. Bell
All rights reserved
I stood there for a moment
Sadly staring at the stone
Imagining some far off year
When my time on earth is gone
Then suddenly it came to me
As I turned to walk away
The only thing that matters
Is the dash between the dates
The dash between the dates
It’s so easy to ignore
It’s hardly ever noticed
But stands for so much more
It’s all the time you get
Before you get to heaven’s gates
Every minute of your life
Fits in the dash between the dates
On my way home that evening
I thought of all I’d seen
How some die young and some die old
And some die in between
If there’s one thing that I learned that day
It’s that time don’t ever wait
And the only time to live
Is in the dash between the dates
Don’t wait until you’re dyin’
To think about your fate
Don’t waste another minute
Of the dash between the dates
Julie Sue Auslander, M.Ed, WPO, WBE
President / Chief Cultural Officer
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