This is the end of the beginning for me. I see these last 8 days as the tip of the tip of the iceberg for Life in Pieces as we have launched our dream to impact, influence, inspire, include and engage families to belong and shine with all of the gifts and talents and special pieces they have to share. The truth is Ellen’s beauty, her inner, secret places that love so deeply and intensely inspire me to be better. Payton’s creativity, her deep passions and desires that feel and connect with so many types of people challenge me to see things from a different perspective. Ben’s rarity, his unique gift to say exactly what he wants to say when he wants to say it without malice or selfish ambition – just raw truth about beauty, justice, friendship, and loving kindness calls me to a transparency that I want to imitate.
I want to embrace the strengths around me, highlight them, encourage them and give the people in my life – my corner pieces – room to grow, blossom, and thrive. To accomplish this I have to understand that my perspectives are shaped by my past; by my childhood, my adolescence, my young adult life. Now as an adult, I have the opportunity to give myself room to grow my own heart, mind, soul, and strength to be the man, the husband, the father, and the friend that I want to be for others. But, growing is our challenge. Stretching ourselves will take an effort. Building our gifts to the point we are using them as we desire takes discipline, focus, and time.
I do not take this lightly. I have seen Ellen pour hours into reading, thinking, listening, praying, writing, classwork, and other avenues over the years to grow as a woman. The last year has been both an amazingly transformative time for her but also a validation of the 25+ years she has been transforming herself out of young adulthood into adulthood. I see so many ways she has “passed me by” in how she has dealt with adversity and hardship. So I take today to commend her as my partner and co-worker in Life in Pieces and I encourage you to look at how you want to grow, to stretch, to build your life emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. Those 4 areas, which are a part of every person’s life, are how we connect and build belonging with one another. These are the special parts of us…these are the ordinary parts of us. My next set of “Pieces” will illuminate how I believe we all share in these 4 foundations of life. Today, take time to reflect on your most treasured pieces – family, dearest friends, and the gifts that are within you, just waiting to inspire others. I belong…so do you!