To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or
a redeemed social condition;
To know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Growing up as the granddaughter of a well known small town farmer, I often heard the phrase, “Oh, your Rayford’s youngest grandbaby, so nice to meet you”- The introductions often followed with a story about how Grandpa helped Mr. Davis down the street fix his tractor or paying someone’s meal at Finn & Feather’s(the only restaurant in town) or giving a days work in exchange for a crate of cabbage and ‘maters to a family who fell on hard times. He was a kind, gentle yet hard working man of deep Faith.
As my brother and I grew older, we would hear him often say, “The Lord helps me breathe easier- Your Grandma helps me breathe easier-The men who fight for our country, help me breathe easier- The food we grow out there( as he peers out the window) helps me breathe easier.”
This is how he chose to live his life… helping one person at a time breathe easier.
It wasn’t until he passed away at the age of 94, did I truly come to fully understand his measure of success.
My grandmother handed me a cutout of his obituary from the newspaper -which until that day & unknown to any of us -included his favorite poem. She asked me to read it at his memorial service. Since that day, these are the tracks I have aspired to leave and man have I fallen flat on my face a time or two on this journey.
I thank him still for helping me breathe easier and understanding that real measures of success come when we truly come to show and value the relationship before any transaction.
Would love to hear where you have met with success in 2016?
Wishing all of you, a Happy New Year!