It’s The People, Dummy

by Rich on May 3, 2018

For the last few weeks, I’ve made an effort to keep things lighthearted, because, truth be told, I’ve been a bit, well, introspective. I suppose that’s the correct word. Not melancholy or sad, per se (although those emotions have stopped in from time to time, like uninvited in-laws), just…pensive. And there have been reasons for that, but I didn’t think it was the right time or place to talk about them. But sometimes the columns write themselves.

I have a son who is graduating from high school. That alone is enough to stop a grown man in his tracks. I’m super proud of him. The guy is wicked smart, in good health, kind, generous and has an amazing sense of humor. I love him unconditionally. So this transition from childhood to adulthood is a challenge for both of us and it’s made me do a lot of looking back. I also lost a good friend from high school recently. He was my age and in decent health. He had a severe stroke and didn’t recover. His loss hit me hard. So, those two things, along with a lot of smaller ones have made me think a lot about the past and how I have spent my time and the decisions I have made in my life. Those thoughts lead, of course, to thoughts about how I want to spend my time now, and what decisions I make for the future. And I discovered an interesting fact that probably shouldn’t surprise me, but it kind of did.

The things that I value, the things that I take the most importance from in life all fall into three or four basic categories. For the most part they involve my faith, the people around me, food, and sports. And a lot of the time, all of those things converge in single experiences.

I love to watch games, but take very little pleasure out of watching them alone. I love to cook (and eat) but a meal alone is, well, lonely. Even my faith, which is the ultimate in personal identity, is meant to be communal. So what is the common thread? People.

I’m not breaking ground, here, folks. You know this as well as I do. But sometimes in life you have circumstances that refocus you onto what is truly important. If there’s one thing that make all the other things in our lives real and enjoyable, it’s the relationships.

All this came to mind in minute clarity recently when I visited Chicago for the first time. It’s been a bucket list item for years, but had I traveled alone, or not met and shared meals with so many great people, it would have been unremarkable. That game at Wrigley would have been downright miserable without someone close to bundle up next to. And what good is a beer at the legendary Harry Caray’s if there is no one to share it with? Is a Chicago Dog even real if consumed alone?

On my way back from Chicago, I had one overriding thought: I need to take more trips, go to more games, and eat more amazing food. And I need to do it with the people I love. I can’t wait to take my son to a day game at Wrigley (in June this time!) and the Army/Navy game this fall with him is going to be epic.

So watch the games, whichever you choose, and eat great food. But find someone to do it with. Share those experiences. It’s what makes life worth living.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mom May 3, 2018 at 2:48 pm

So true my son. God created us to be in loving relationships. I heard a modern translation of the Great Commandment and the second part after the Love God part said, “EQUALLY important is to love one another. Somehow, I always thought of that part as an ad on, but realize this translation actually clarifies and emphasizes the meaning. Only through HIm can we do it, though. Love you.

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