Life is too short for lots of things, and lately I’m overwhelmed with that reality. There’s always something worse to imagine going through than what we’re currently experiencing, and those thoughts might help us cope, but when we’re going through anything tough it can be a harsh reminder to do more…living.
March 26th is normally a wonderful day of celebration for my wife’s, Shawna, birthday. But this March 26th will forever be marked as the date we lost a very close loved one – our brother (in-law), David Butts. We are crushed with devastation, and our hearts ache deeply for our sister, Lenae, and their three boys, Gauge, Gavin, & Garen. No matter how hard we try to love on them and no matter how bad we want to ease their pain, there is nothing we can do to bring David back or replace his love and relationship in their lives.
So many thoughts cross our minds as we think back on our time with David. We should have ____ more. The list of things to fill that blank with is endless, and the list of people we could try to fill the blank with is endless. But life is also too short to try filling that blank with too many things, and it is definitely too short for trying to fill that blank with the wrong people.
As I reflected on that life truth in the days following David’s passing, I thought and prayed that I would live life to the fullest, that I would pursue God’s plan for me – for every relationship, moment, decision. I live with the attitude that there is always room for improvement, for becoming – whatever we’re becoming. (I even eluded to that in my talk at David’s memorial service because I believe David was living that way too, whether he knew it or not.)
One area of life I’ve struggled with for years is career. I’ve known for quite some time that something needs to change. I’ve felt a calling to something more. I’ve had opportunities to do things that have helped me develop many skills and qualities. But I’ve failed to make any significant changes in career path – mostly due to fear of financial failure. Having these thoughts after our devastating loss I became full of determination to make my existing path look brighter or find another path, I literally put on my to-do list, “plan talking points for (boss name) – something has to change”.
Before I even got a chance to schedule that conversation, and only a week after the devastating phone call about David’s death, I received another devastating phone call. It was the boss letting me know that his company, that I’ve loyally served for 11 years, is going out of business. This came as a complete shock to me because as far as I knew everything was going ok – not great but better than average so far this year for me and for the company too, so I thought. It doesn’t matter though – the company is closing regardless of the reason, and I am left looking for a job.
Timing can seem crazy, but I believe it’s God’s plan. Losing my job 8 days earlier might have freaked me out, but that perspective is different when receiving the news on the heals of losing a brother. Don’t get me wrong – it sucks. It’s like being kicked while you’re down, but I keep it in perspective by reminding myself it is nothing compared to living in a country where real threats exist – like lions or drug lords.
Apparently, God’s plan is not to stay on the path I was on or to try and fix something that was obviously broken – more than I even realized. The question now is what exactly is the plan. I’m completely open and willing to do anything. Of course, there are certain things that might make more sense than other things but since when did everything God plans for us make sense to us? No – I’m not limiting my options only to what makes sense.
I’m talking to anyone and everyone. I’m open to anything. It’s not all about how much money I can make, but I don’t want to be taken advantage of either. It’s not all about working for the best company, but I don’t want to be with a losing organization either. When it’s all said and done I want to be somewhere I feel challenged to continue growing personally, somewhere that wants more out of my qualities than the dollars I can produce, somewhere the people are valued, respected, and trusted, somewhere relationships are genuine and professional, and somewhere family and friends relationships are valued and encouraged.
When I say I’m talking to anyone, I do mean anyone. I could do pretty much anything. I’ve done corporate, small business, and ministry work. I’ve worked in manufacturing process and supply chain management. I’ve done print industry sales and account management. I’ve taught and done public speaking. I’ve overseen web projects, social presence, and other marketing. I’ve done writing projects. I’ve lead and managed and participated in team building. I’ve done finances, forecasting, and strategy. I love learning, and I love to be challenged.
So, I’m not limiting myself to one particular industry or ministry. I’m looking for professional challenge, personal growth, and great relationships. If there’s one thing I have learned from my brother David, it is that life is too short for anything less than…living.