“The power of your dreams lives in the action – not the vision.” – Robin Sharma
At the age of 22, I graduated college, started a business, and finally started making money.
I worked hard during the day with my employees, played hard during the night with my friends, and was just beginning a relationship with a beautiful girl named Beth.
My life was good…and my life was really all about me.
A dream would soon wake me up to not only the value of all I had, though, but also, more importantly, the fleeting nature of it.
In the dream, I’m playing basketball with friends when my grandfather comes over to give me a hug, kiss my cheek, and tell me he’s going home. I hug him back, tell him I’d see him soon and then go back to shooting hoops.
After taking a few more shots, I turn and watch as he walks away, passes his car, and continues down the street. It occurs to me he isn’t just leaving for the day, but forever.
With a ball in hand, I beg him to come back, but he just keeps walking. I plead that there is so much more I want to learn from him, ask him, and share with him. He continues walking…around a corner…down the street…out of view.
I awoke panicked.
Popping out of bed to begin the day, I grabbed my phone and called him. He was getting older, but still worked every day and always arrived early. He answered in his good-natured, deep bellow. It was a Tuesday and I asked if he could meet for lunch.
We met at a little Chinese restaurant that day and had a blast together. We agreed to meet again the following week.
It was a tradition that continued every Tuesday for a month. Then, several months. Then, a full year.
Sometimes it was the two of us while other times my dad and brother would join. But always we enjoyed the food, relished the conversation, and treasured the time.
During those Tuesday lunches I learned from him about growing up on a farm, the realities of the Great Depression, the experience of serving in the Pacific during WWII, the joy of coming home to his sweetheart, the worthiness of hard work, the value of family, the importance of faith, the appropriate language to use when missing an easy golf shot, the reason for tipping generously and the need for an ever-present sense of humor.
More than anything, though, I learned from a wise, older man the deep appreciation of slowing down to actually appreciate life.
Our Tuesday lunch meetings continued for four years. A four-year streak that ended when I got a phone call from his daughter, my mom.
My grandfather had not been feeling well, so his sweetheart of more than six decades drove him to the doctor’s office. She dropped him off, parked the car, walked in, and sat next to him. He put his hand gently on her leg, looked her in the eyes, smiled and asked, “Did you get in without any issues, Love?”
Before Grandma could answer, his head slowly leaned back and his body became limp. The last words he ever spoke were out of concern for someone else.
It’s how he lived each of his eight decades. And it’s how he lived until the end.
We buried my grandfather on a snowy morning in January. A packed funeral service at his church was followed by a burial. His family and friends then gathered for large family lunch.
It was a Tuesday.
My friends, we all have dreams about what is possible in our lives, for our lives, and through our lives. Frequently, though, instead of acting on the great possibility of our lives we choose to hit the snooze button, return to sleep, and miss the sacred opportunity to experience the fullness of life.
Choose to not only realize the great power of your dreams, but also the potential to change many lives by actually taking action.
Starting with your own.
Who do you know that is living a radically inspired life? Share in the comments below.