Russ Towne (russtowne.com) who pens the glorious “A Grateful Man” was prompted by a friend to respond to a question that grabbed my attention. “What do you know for sure?” His responses were pure Russ, written with candor and beauty, simplicity and reflection. And I began asking myself the same question – and would submit that it’s a reasonable query to pose to ourselves from time to time. I will admit that my answers didn’t arrive with the same eloquence or confidence; nor do I know if this represents an all-inclusive list. Nonetheless here goes..
– I know for sure that I still love loving my husband. I also know for sure that he drives me crazy sometimes, while I on the other hand, I never affect him in that way. I know for sure that he is the anchor to my kite and were it not for him I’d probably be getting stuck in the trees like a wayward balloon.
– I know for sure that my adoration of my children knows no bounds and I know for sure that they know it and probably don’t fully get it. I know for sure that parents screw up all the time, and children grow up in spite of us and not because of us. To reflect tremendous self-congratulatory aggrandizement for their successes as fantastic people is folly and a little narcissistic. This is their time. And I am grateful to be along for the ride. Let’s remember that I’m the sap who cries when we say good-bye to each other despite living ten minutes apart.
– I know for sure that at different times in my life I have let disappointment and anger have more power over me than I realized at the time. And the only person who suffered from its toxicity was me.
– I know for sure that my life continues to be enhanced by the people who enter my world – and also those who exit. Some people need to stay for a little while, and that’s ok. Some people will be here forever and that’s a gift. Last I looked, one can’t suffer from having too much love in their life – for however long.
– I know for sure that I’m at a point in my life where I’m wondering what my next contribution will be. I need to listen harder to my heart, for it’s definitely speaking. We don’t spend enough time paying attention to its messages.
– I know for sure that if there hadn’t been a black-out at the Super Bowl last night I wouldn’t have fallen asleep and missed the best part of the game.
– I know for sure that the silence that announces the arrival of snow always makes my eyes fill. It is one of the most peaceful calming sounds in the world.
– I know for sure that I want another puppy (honey are you reading this?).
– I know each day offers me the chance to say ‘Thank You’ – for the ridiculous number of gifts that are in my life. And I also know I don’t say ‘thank you’ enough.
– I know for sure that for all the articles about leadership, for all the seminars I’ve led on management, motivation, employee engagement, etc – none of it means a damn thing if a person loses his/her character. Save the HBR studies for another day – as you shimmy up the food chain, hold tight to your sense of integrity and honor. You will be remembered for little else.
– I know for sure that I can out-happy dance anyone I know. Not because I’m such a good dancer, but because I have lost enough, found enough and love enough to know how to celebrate all of it.
And finally, I know for sure that there is nothing I can be sure of – except this moment in time. And this moment in time – in the quiet soft rhythmic beating of its longing – is perfect.