“It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is He who reads in your hearts your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle.”
Pope St. John Paul II
The other day I couldn’t remember how old I was. While getting ready for a funeral, it took me an embarrassingly long time to do some simple arithmetic and confirm my age to myself. I think the real mental barrier was that the number, soon to increase in a few weeks, felt old for the first time. That same morning, I saw a Linkedin announcement about a college classmate’s recent new high-level position and felt a twinge. Perhaps I am falling behind, running out of time to get done all the things I should complete or be on course to complete by now. My older and wiser wife asked me a few, helpful, pointed questions, and then told me to get over myself and focus on Mr. Ted Rogers, a wonderful man we were blessed to know for a long time. Waiting in the long line of visitors to pay our respects, we admired the plethora of photos marking Ted’s 88 years of life. He seemed to have it all – a reputable career, respect of the community, devoted wife of 58 years, children and grandchildren, and a strong faith. As his daughter memorialized him, she mentioned “Dad never wore a watch because he didn’t care what time it was – whenever Ted was with his family he never wanted that moment to end.”
Along with all the places I hope to arrive, as a leader do I imagine the people who will be there with me? Does my constant forward focus prevent my peripheral vision from seeing with whom I get to walk with on the road to glory? And as I discern my “most genuine choices” for what my life “must include,” do I invite Him to read my heart and speak to the yearning only He can satisfy? After reflecting upon Ted’s life, it was clear that he didn’t need a watch because his family and his faith kept the time.