Life of Meaning

Planting… WAITING… Sowing

September 13, 2020 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.”

Robert Louis Stevenson

Several years ago, an executive client requested that I give him feedback on a handful of his public speeches. A quite adept speaker, I told him after one speech that his delivery was sharp and clear, and the only thing I thought needed help was his “close”—the way he finished his speech.

Now, since my feedback was given verbally he thought I meant the only thing he needed to work on was his “clothes”—his attire! You can image his bewilderment, especially since he was quite a good dresser.

Waiting for the Ripening

On a personal note: One thing I am not is a “closer.” I can’t really close a deal. Oh, I can set it up in preparation for the closer. But closing… that’s not my deal. I’m like a quarterback that can get you to the Red Zone, and then you’ll need to bring on another QB to get you in the end zone.

As I ponder this subject, it seems to me that much of our lives is all about waiting; waiting for the close to occur. It takes time to plant, to grow, and to ripen an opportunity before it is ready to be “reaped.” Gardening requires patience and rhythms.

Although it might be painful in our less-than-patient culture, waiting is a natural part of life’s growth process of sowing and reaping harvests.

The Yield May Be a Lifetime Away

One thing I have learned in Covid Quasi Quarantine is how to wait more patiently. I have been forced to delay gratification. I plant and I water. I nurture what I have planted and wait for an unknown time of harvest, during which time I reserve enough seed to begin the planting process all over again.

A counselor once told me that the difference I might make on the world might actually come into realization through the efforts of my son. And that, perhaps, my job was to build and nurture him to be a confident, kind, and measured man that thinks of others as much as he does for himself.

And so, I may never see the difference I made because it may not occur in my lifetime. Ah, but still… waiting holds a certain charm, confident that the result is in better hands than mine.

Let the Planting Begin

And the Patience Continue

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Matters of the Soul

September 5, 2020 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

I often tell people to lean into relationships that are replenishing for them.” Jim Burns

Life is exhausting. Even in Covid quarantine. Maybe, especially in Covid quarantine.

Daily we easily find ourselves utterly drained by people, personal circumstances, and national chaos, leaving us “running on empty.” We are hungry. The OT prophet says, “In that day the people will be so hungry, they won’t even know what they are hungry for.”
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Wanted: Leaders with Character

August 22, 2020 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

A good character is the best tombstone.” Charles Spurgeon

Today, I am troubled—to say the least.

The Problem

I am sick to death of name-calling, blaming, divisiveness, and vitriol. And it all begins at the very top of our chain of political leadership. Note: this is not a partisan piece. I see these vices fully alive in all camps.
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First Things… Later

August 15, 2020 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“I am always wary of decisions made hastily. I am always wary of the first decision, that is, the first thing that comes to my mind… This is usually the wrong thing. Pope Francis

“Count to ten.”

For people my age, as kids facing a knee-jerk reaction, we were always told to “count to ten,” then consider our response. For my son, since he was about four-years-old, whenever he wanted some new or inviting item, he wanted it now! Pam and I frequently repeated the phrase, “Patience, son. Patience.”
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Needed: Bridge Builders!

August 8, 2020 by Charlie Hedges − 1 Comments

We ought to have the humility to admit we do not know all about ourselves, that we are not experts at running our lives. ― Thomas Merton

On his album East Ashville Hardware singer/songwriter David Wilcox tells the story of a carpenter in search of work somewhere in rural America. To his luck, he comes upon a farmer looking to build a fence.
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Good Intentions: The Enemy of Integrity

July 26, 2020 by Charlie Hedges − 2 Comments

People are always meaning well… That’s often the trouble. Penelope Lively

“Be a man of your word.” “Let your yes be yes, and your no be no.” “If you ever need anything, just give me a call.” Or, “When you move, just let me know. I can help.”

Whew? Such clichés are uttered with the greatest of intentions, and utmost sincerity. Unfortunately, at times these good intentions are also uttered without much forethought—the receiver of these promises actually believes the promisor meant what was said.
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The Gospel According to Work

July 19, 2020 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

In the past century, the American conception of work has shifted from jobs to careers to callings—from necessity to meaning.” Derek Thompson Staff writer at The Atlantic

“So… what do YOU do?”

How many times have you been asked that annoying question?

I say “annoying” because the implications are obvious (as well as disheartening): Our essence as a worthy individual seems to be predicated on what kind of work we do, especially if we can add titles like founder, president, VP, SVP, or CEO. The inferences are clear: such titles mean that we are most likely educated, industrious, competent, and successful. We are worth listening to.
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I Could Be Wrong

July 11, 2020 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

Nobody is more dangerous than he who imagines himself pure in heart; for his purity, by definition, is unassailable.” James Baldwin

It all began nearly thirty years ago.

New to the forward thinking of the Episcopalians, I found myself in disagreement with one particular point in a sermon given by the Bishop of the LA Diocese. So, following my inquisitive proclivities I approached Bishop Fred Borsch afterwards during “coffee hour.” It was then I most respectfully questioned the biblical accuracy of his position.

Bishop Borsch thoughtfully considered my question before he responded, “You know, Charlie,” (I had introduced myself to him), “together we believe in the truths of the Scripture and that the words in the text are certainly not “wrong.” Although together you and I believe that Scripture is not wrong, we as errant human beings might be wrong in our interpretations.”

That brief encounter with the Bishop changed my thinking forever. I Could Be Wrong! No matter how sure I may be of any given “truth” I could be proven wrong when confronted with new information. That was when I chose to begin holding my “beliefs” in a bit of suspension, always prepared to be open to new ideas.

James Baldwin was right on target when he assailed the notion of self-righteousness by calling those with such beliefs as dangerous. Certainly, those with unassailable beliefs can be unapproachable. Ergo, “never talk about religion or politics” in a friendly gathering.

In times like we face today, I can think of no better words to live by than “I could be wrong.” My personal beliefs are always assailable and I wish to be open to other ideas.

Now, for me, I still hold certain beliefs very close to my heart and I have a hard time imagining someone changing my mind. But… you never know… I could be wrong.

When In Doubt

Count Yourself as Blessed

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Self Reflection in Pandemonium

July 5, 2020 by Charlie Hedges − 2 Comments

“Montaigne left the world to follow its own chaotic crazed paths in an effort to only concern himself with one thing: to be rational within himself, to remain human in an inhuman time, to remain free in the vortex of pandemonium.Stephen Zweig on Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592)

Sometimes the disorder of social pandemonium requires a respite or retreat in order to gather one’s thoughts. It is so easy to get caught up in the tyranny of the loudest voices, resulting in a chaotic world, both personal and social.
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When Duty is a Joy

June 20, 2020 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“I slept and dreamt / that life was a joy. / I awoke and saw that life was a duty. / I worked—and behold, / duty was a joy.
Rabindranath Tagore

In my final, for now, essay on Viktor’s Frankl’s Yes to Life I find myself experiencing a twist regarding my search for meaning in life.

When Duty is An Option

Frankl offers two fresh options for our seeming eternal quest for some kind of meaning of this delightful and troublesome existence we call “life.” Answers to these question are comprised of both individual and socially responsibilities. Frankl suggests two ideas to ponder:
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