We don’t need any more comic book superhero movies. Rather, what we need is someone to turn meaningful stories like this one into lessons we can all witness on the big screen and then apply to our life.
Bernhardt Wichmann III had very few friends, but they were deep ones. Friends were patient enough to wait until he wrote replies on small slips of paper so they could carry on conversations with him. Friends were willing enough to help him schedule medical visits.
And early last month, Wichmann died as he lived: fully. From The New York Times: "They discovered that since 1991, Ben had lived in that tiny third-floor room down the block that cost $10 a day. He had few possessions and eked by on Social Security. In a city where so many have so much, he had practically nothing. Yet it was enough, always enough. And inside him beat a heart bigger than a mountain."
Read that again: "And inside him beat a heart bigger than a mountain."
What 10 words would you want written about you in The Times?
Of course, Wichmann’s goal wasn’t to be in The New York Times. It was to live fully present and to help others. Living into that authentic goal of his got him into the paper.
Many people would love to be covered by the NYT and it still never happens. I have to think that when our goal is to impress others, we’ll always fall short. When our goal is to serve others, we’ll wind up impressing them, too (even if a large newspaper never writes about us).
Happy 80th, Rosemary
Yesterday, Rosemary Brown turned 80. She hasn’t been in The Times, and may never be.
Last year, I walked into Rosemary’s church when life was very hard. I didn’t expect Rosemary or the people inside to make life easier for me. But I did hope they could make life a tad brighter. It seems like when we’re facing darkness and need some rays of hope, we humans do have the ability to shine for others when we show up in their lives.
The more people we let in, the brighter life gets. And the more deeply we let them shine in our lives, so much beauty becomes revealed by that light.
Yesterday, our ragtag congregation sang "Happy Birthday,", gave Rosemary a set of new tires, and listened as she cried with the gratitude and sincerity that only 80 years can offer. Wrinkles are just memories we can see, after all.
Rosemary offered us all one hope in her sermon yesterday - that when her time is up, she can be described as a single word: faithful.
Maybe eight decades of living make you realize that headlines are temporary; tombstones are permanent. And that legacy is even more lasting, written on hearts and retold with love in a way that newsprint and granite could never convey.
Fight for who you’re becoming
I left these two notes behind - one in each night stand - in Austin last week.
We each have a desire to fight for something, be it a worthy global cause or combatting some injustice we find in the world. But we can’t forget to channel some of that fierce drive toward our own destiny.
Whoever it is you’re becoming, you can decide each morning that you’ll fight for her and the bright vision welling up inside her heart. So don’t compromise a value that makes you beautiful, a passion that makes you unique, or a love that makes you full.
Don’t back down from the man you want to become just because someone else offers a route that’s simple or convenient. Easy and meaningful are opposites. (Click to tweet.)
Dream up the kind of person you’d die to become known as. Then do the hard work of fighting for him or her by being and becoming that man or that woman you know you can be. Your life and your legacy depend upon it mightily.
How to Live
The only life instructions are these: be.
Be on time.
Live deeply. There is no other way.