My grandfather used to say “Life is not about what you gain, but who you touch.”
It was a business trip recently that reminded me of the wisdom at the core of this statement. I traveled to a client site to present the results of an operational study, which would potentially save them $1.7 million in direct and indirect costs over the next year. The presentation went very well and I received accolades from the client and my local business colleagues, but to me it was just…ok. What turned out to be the highlight of that trip was the “Thank You” note that I received a few weeks later. It was from a young lady that I had the opportunity to speak with, during the return flight. We had the length of a plane ride to discuss an extremely difficult relationship she was grappling with, where she struggled to see her value in it, or the strength to leave it.
Apparently, in our brief conversation, something said reached her value core and she was encouraged to make a change in her situation - it turned out to be the best thing for her and her children. I can’t take credit for it, God is the only one who has the ability to free people from those types of situations, but to have a part in helping her increase the value of her situation, far out shined the success and accolades that accompanied my professional endeavor. You see, many people could have gone to that company and used the same facts to save them money. To them maybe I was a good consultant, but who would remember that a year later? However, to this young lady, I may have put her in the mind of the type of person described in the entry “Calling All Heroes” or the "Real Heroes" poem posted the following week from January of this year. No, I don't consider myself anyone's hero, but if you have a moment, read those posts, it will take only a few minutes, but the words speak volumes.
The things that you gain in this world all have one thing in common; they will remain here when you die. Money, cars, houses – none of those things have any real value where it counts, none will remember you and they are not loyal, trust me, they will all find a new owner. But this quote is not just about the “things” of life; it also speaks to the intention of your actions and how you define value while you inhabit this planet. Selfishness is the enemy of humanity, but love is the most valuable and least expensive of human capabilities. Love remains one of the greatest equalizers, it doesn’t matter who you are…you have a wealth of it to share, the question is – do you, even when it doesn’t yield you an immediate return? Albert Pine said it well when he said “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.” So immortality, in this sense, is possible.
Do you want a firsthand example? Well, you are reading one now - my grandfather - he has been gone for more than 20 years and you may have never had the pleasure of meeting him, but if you have been reading this blog and continue to follow my weekly posts, you get to know him through the eyes of someone he truly touched. His body and “things” may be gone, but his legacy of touching the lives of our human community hopefully lives on through his memory in these posts. It warms my heart to see the comments and feedback of readers who say that one of my grandfather’s tidbits of wisdom has helped them in some way; it is my motivation to continue to share them. My prayer for you is that you come to understand the wisdom in these words, and like my grandfather, use the wealth of charity, powered by unselfish love to purchase a “real estate” in the heart of those you touch. Be Blessed.