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“Embrace the lessons from your past, engage in the miracle of each moment, and ignite the limitless possibility of tomorrow.” – John O’Leary [Tweet this.]

travionTen years ago Beth and I joined a program called Big Brothers, Big Sisters.

It was before we had our own kids, we knew we had the time to invest into someone else, and we wanted to make a difference. It was one of the best decisions we made as a young couple.

We were matched with a bright-eyed, 12-year-old boy named Travion.

A couple times a month we’d pick him up and do fun activities together. We went bowling, attempted ice-skating, visited the zoo, went up in the Arch, took bike rides, tried waterskiing, and went to the theater. Afterwards we’d get dinner, work on homework, talk about life and take him home. The time with Travion was a joy.

The visit I remember most clearly wasn’t a joy, though. It was chaotic.

Beth and I were hosting a dinner party for my five siblings, their spouses, their kids, and our parents. In total, more than 25 people crammed into our house for dinner. Among those gathered was our little brother, Travion.

Beth and I raced around getting food served, drinks poured, spills cleaned and plates cleared. The night was a blur and after dinner it was time to get Travion back to his family. Stepping over toys and around family members, I found him upstairs with our nieces and nephews.

After letting him know it was time to go, we said our good-byes, went outside and hopped into the car. As we drove I apologized for the crazy night. We didn’t get to do anything fun, didn’t get to really talk with each other, didn’t get to focus on him at all. I told him I’d make it up to him next time.

He looked over at me, smiled and said, “John, what are you talking about? I want to thank you. This was the best night of my life.”

He went onto talk about my parents, my siblings and their spouses, the way everyone treated him and made him feel like part of the family.

As he shared, this little boy reminded me that sometimes in trying to plan out the big moments in life, we miss the true gifts of the ordinary miracles of every day. It seems we frequently get so familiar with what we have that we don’t even know the full extent of the gift that it is.

Two weeks ago, my wife, our four kids and my parents gathered for another celebration. We gathered to celebrate the wedding of our little brother to his bride, Fiona. The cute little boy we were lucky enough to befriend grew into a handsome, outstanding man.

At the reception I reminded him about that crazy dinner a decade earlier. I bet him that this day and night would become the best of his life. I shared that my hope and prayer for him is that each day going forward might get even better; that he may enjoy a long, blessed, radically inspired life.

My friends, leading a radically inspired life means embracing the lessons from our past, actively engaging in the miracle of each moment, and igniting the limitless possibility of tomorrow. [Tweet this.]

It’s a lesson I learned from a young boy ten years ago who found immense joy in the ordinary chaos of a big family dinner. It’s a reality I saw again in a groom’s eyes as he watched his bride walk toward him down the aisle. And, in the end, it’s a choice we are free to make in every interaction every day of our lives.

This is your day. Live inspired.

0 replies on “How to Have Your “Best Night””

If you find yourself getting sleepy way before your bedtime, get off the couch and do something mildly stimulating to avoid falling asleep, such as washing the dishes, calling a friend, or getting clothes ready for the next day. If you give in to the drowsiness, you may wake up later in the night and have trouble getting back to sleep.

John, The most touching thing about this story, and the picture, is that you and Beth both have a hand on one of Trevion’s shoulders. Whether intended, or not, you each show how much you treasure and support the man-child in his past, present and future.

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