The phone rang. I was the only one in the office so I answered. A low, gruff voice on the other end said “I need to speak with the person in charge of your chapter at Princess Anne High School.” Uh oh. These calls were ominous. I was on staff with a non-profit organization that worked with high school students and we never knew what to expect. I responded saying that person was me and asked how I could help. “I want to meet you” the bellowing voice said. “OK, may I ask what it is in reference to?” was my reply. “I want to know how I can help you” the deep, gravelly voice said back. Whew! Dodged a bullet. The next week I would meet a man who would forever change my life. His name was Jack Birsch. When I met him he was well over 300 lbs and had a shiny, bald head and was smoking a big cigar. At noon. In a Holiday Inn restaurant (one of the few places left in Virginia Beach you could smoke indoors). Thus began a friendship which would change me deeply and the way I viewed the world.
We started meeting every couple of weeks, then every week for an hour, then it became 2 hours. He had a twinkle in his eye and had a way with words. Jack was big on grace. Jack was big on love. Jack had a big personality. After we had met several times, he asked me a question in his booming voice that would become a splinter in my mind:
Jack: Have you ever seen a hearse pulling a Uhaul?
My answer: No.
Jack: Of course you haven’t, because naked you come, and naked you go. So you better find out what matters in this life and give yourself to it wholeheartedly.
Find out what matters in this life [what’s important] and give time, effort, priority to it.
Jack continued to ask me that question every few weeks until it became engraved on my heart. As I got to know him, I realized the impact of his life was still echoing all over Virginia Beach and all over the world. It seemed like almost every day I would meet someone who would say: “Oh Jack? He was a huge influence in my life. Yes he showed up when I needed him most.”
What matters to you in this life? Are you giving yourself to it wholeheartedly?
Advent is a good time for reflection. Reflection about our life and our year. What was most important to you in 2016? Did you give yourself to it? Did it matter? “Evaluated reflection turns experience into insight.” –John Maxwell.
If not, how can you recalibrate and redirect your efforts to what matters in 2017?