Sunday, January 30, 2011

Partnering with Others

During this first month of the new year I have been exploring ideas for experiencing a great year. As we close out the month one additional thought has been bouncing around in my head. The people we choose to partner with in life have so much to do with our success and enjoyment in life.

One of the things that is so clear to me is how dramatically our lives are impacted by the people we spend time with in work, in family, and in our friendships. My Mom and Dad were right when they told me to choose my friends carefully. As a kid I often resisted their counsel, which almost always caused me some serious disappointment.

The people I work with are a rare combination of passion, practicality, and patience. They bless my life beyond what I deserve but I am so grateful. My partner for life, my wife of 37 years, is the most remarkable person I have ever known. Her insights about how life really works in this world have kept me from some great disasters. Her gentle and respectful way of talking to me about my life and our life together is an amazing gift. My friends are a mixture and odd brew - they are as different from me as any human beings could be but they challenge me with their ideas, their dreams, their deep convictions about what really matters.

When I talk with people often one of the first troubling topics is who they are partnering with in life. I remember a conversation when someone told me with great candor, "Everyone I work with is a crook. They lie and cheat as a way of life." I thought when they said that, what a miserable daily life.

I tell people who describe themselves as lonely to not trade loneliness for a coalition with persons who will bring you misery and pain. As difficult as it is to find good friendships and relationships, it is well worth all the time and effort.

One of my favorite stories is the love story of C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman Gresham. Lewis was a successful and a much acclaimed writer, teacher, and lecturer, whose unique way of presenting the essence of the Christian faith made him world famous. Lewis was a lifelong bachelor and showed little indication of changing but then his friendship with Joy blossomed into a deep love and marriage. In many ways, C.S. and Joy were nothing alike but their partnership which was tragically cut short by her death, changed Lewis forever. His writing after her death was some of the most amazing and challenging of his life. He became a caring and compassionate Father to her children, which seemed very improbable for a very private man like Lewis. Lewis titled one of his books, Surprised by Joy, a book about his early life and his journey to the joy of Christian faith. Not long after it was published, another Joy came into his life - Joy Davidman Gresham, another remarkable "surprise" that would have a dramatic impact in his life.

This year focus on partnering with the people who will call you to the very best in your life. And have a great year!

Just thinking, Steve

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