Sacrifice, hard work, and living life to the fullest has never come easily for me. As a teenager, I struggled with these things especially, mainly about who I am. I have always been a quiet person, but it wasn’t until I learned more about a late uncle of mine that I really began to understand the meaning of life and God’s purpose for us living in all of it.
He was 23 years old when he died, under the deep waters of Costa Rica. His name was Jerome, my mother’s younger brother and a great influence in my life. Everybody in my life, of course, has been a great influence, but the words he spoke to me in a speech of his that I found was what made me really admire who he was. To this day, I wish I would’ve met him, but he died several years before I was born.
One of his greatest passions in life was agriculture. He grew up on a farm, raised in the beauty of hard work, caring for animals, and learning the good and bad elements of every part of crop and farm life. He adored 4-H and FFA, so much so that he made it a career. While on a mission trip in Costa Rica with his 4-H mates, he’d had so many plans for how to influence as many countries as he could through agriculture and how to be better farmers. His next goal had been to explore Panama. But God had other plans.
While out swimming with one of his friends, his friend lost control of his swimming and drifted afar off into sea. Jerome leaped into the water to save him, and his friend safely made it to shore. However, Jerome did not, but instead drifted farther and farther away; ultimately, to his death.
I share this story not out of confusion or for you to feel sorry for me for an uncle I never knew that died. But by reading his final given 4-H speech, I discovered that I was more like him than I thought, and furthermore, I discovered the art of really knowing him through such a profound speech. Below are the main points given in his speech. They’re brief, but they signify not only how we should love each other, but how God loves us. This speech persuades us to be positive for our futures, but to also not expect a future, for God has an ultimate and beautiful plan far beyond all of our imaginings. I hope you enjoy this speech as a testament to him, and I hope you learn something wonderful and beautiful because of it.
**The most enjoyable journey is to meet someone halfway.
**You’ve got to love life, love things and love those around enough to show them. It’s a risk, but if you aren’t afraid of yourself, your life can really get better each day.
**If you start saying love and thinking about the things you love, your whole day will become a positive experience.
**Replace something negative with the positive like: “I may not hit the baseball, but I love the way you pitch” or “I hate getting up this early–but I love the sunrise and the singing birds.”
**Find something new each day to live. Don’t miss all those things that make life lovable and livable. Don’t miss life. Grab for it. Live each day and each moment. Some people live like there will always be a tomorrow, like they will never die. “Oh I can enjoy life tomorrow, right now I’ll just survive.” Love it now. There may never be a tomorrow. The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it. Leo Buscaylia says, “I don’t see death as a villain. I have happily accepted death as a challenge.” I agree. It lets me know that I have to live.
**I see death as a positive force. It tells me I have a limited time. It plays no tricks. Death has been a possibility since the time I was born. It has never hidden itself…unless I hid it. Choose the present. That’s what really matters. Rid yourself of no and can’t and impossible. The world is full of negative. We are full of it. Say yes to life. Try yes and possible and hopeful. Embrace life.
**Are you foolish enough to imagine that you automatically deserve success in an field or activity? Then why do you believe you automatically deserve success in marriage and family relations unless you work at it? Look at the way you treat each other in your family. With silence. With screaming. You ignore their feelings. You hide your feelings. Or you try to. The boss yells at you. You go home and yell at your spouse. Your spouse yells at the kids. The kid kicks the dog that bites the cat that urinates on the rug. Where does it all start? Why is it that the people we love the most we support and reinforce the least?
**We too often criticize. We don’t give our family the benefit of the doubt. We expect the worse. Grandma used to say that you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. So why concentrate on the vinegar?
**”My parents did this and that to me.” You know what your parents do for you. The best thing they know how to. Maybe the only thing they know how to. They give you what they know. God bless them. They may not be perfect. But then, no one teaches a person how to be a parent. You suddenly have a baby and there you are. The sad part and maybe the reason you are so disappointed is that you believed your parents were perfect. And they let you believe it!
**It’s your responsibility to become the most loving, wonderful person because that is what you will be giving to your children–to all you meet.
**Sidney J. Harris says on rearing children: Parents who expect or want their children to ‘appreciate’ what they have done for them usually find that the children feel resentful when they grow older.
**Telling people you love them means you have to get out of your way. You’ve got to take a risk and expose your feelings. “I’m too cool. I don’t need to tell you what I feel.” We need love, we tell people we love them, and we need to do it now. We can’t put it off. We don’t know how much time we have.
**Love life–reach for life and stretch your mind. Love yourself–don’t be afraid. Don’t stand in your way. Love those around you. Give them the best you there is, and then they can become the best.
**No earthly happiness would be possible without our gracious God. The thought of eternal happiness with Him makes our joy here almost meaningless in comparison–to make our earthly life meaningful he has some suggestions like this: Be an instrument of peace: Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love…where there is injury, pardon..where there is doubt, faith…where there is darkness, light, and where there is sadness, joy. Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console…to be understood as to understand…to be loved as to love…for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
**Carry those thoughts–console, understand, love and give–have a wonderful life!!****
Have a good week, everyone! 🙂