Here is a picture of my family. It was taken at my sister Grace’s wedding a few months back.
Here is why I love this picture: I think it’s a great snapshot of a successful life.
In our world we are pretty confused when it comes to success. Maybe someone is successful when they’ve made a bunch of money. Or perhaps someone has made it when they can step on a stage and get people to clap. Or perhaps success has to do with making a difference or being known.
I don’t think so. I think success is loving and being loved. I think success has to do with limiting what you do, so that you can be known by the people around you. By that definition my dad and mom are pretty successful. And here is the kicker, they haven’t made a lot of money and in 50 years, outside of a few of their grandchildren, no one will remember them. But their life will have mattered, because they loved each other and they left a legacy of love for their children to walk in.
When I went home for my sister’s wedding, I was on a run with my dad and I asked him what he was most proud of. Without hesitation he said between breaths, “I am proud of the fact that I still love your mom, and that my kids are getting married and learning to love their spouses in the same way. Also I am proud that none of my kids married bums. It means I won’t have to raise my grandkids.”
Good word dad. After raising 7 kids, you should get some time on the bench.
A few days later, I asked my mom the same question and she said, “I’m proud of the family your dad and I have created. It has been our life’s work and it has been worth it.”
Good word mom. You’re life’s work has been worth it. I mean look at the picture, we can barely fit.
You know as a look at this picture from my sister’s wedding, I’m glad for so many reasons. I’m glad that God put me in this crazy family. I’m glad my parents defined success in terms of relationships not wealth or career. I’m glad for the gift they gave to me and my sisters. It’s helpful to know that honesty and transparency matter. It’s helpful to have such a clear picture of what I am shooting for in my own life. I want to love and I want to be loved. Also I’m glad I didn’t marry a bum. I wouldn’t want to disappoint my dad.