Reflection: Life’s Lessons for Taking On the Future

As I walked into the house a few weeks ago, I was immediately drawn to the sound I heard coming from the TV. I looked over and saw a military band playing as the flag-draped coffin of George HW Bush was removed from the coach and taken up the stairs of the capital. Having walked by that exact spot so many times, I was immediately mesmerized by what I saw. I dropped my bag and did not even take off my coat as I sat and watched the event for pretty near an hour. So many things were running through my mind as I thought about the people, the emotion and the history that surrounded the passing of this great man. From age 18 to 94, there were countless stories of the wonderful things he did throughout his life.

In this fast-paced world, we tend to bump along from one day to the next making numerous impressions and decisions. Between work, family, household chores, sports, emails, text messages, Facebook, and everything else going on, we barely get through the day. Unless we go to an awards banquet or some other recognition event, we don’t usually take time to look back and recognize how all of those daily actions and events have shaped who we are or how we have affected others.  I see that as a bit of a shame.

As we stand at the dawn of a new year, I am struck by what I see around me as I travel the halls of The Maplewood. Every day, so many people work hard to make a difference in the lives of so many others.  It has always been that way at The Maplewood. I think back to my childhood and the events that have brought us to this day. I recall watching the interactions between my parents and my grandparents as a business transferred from one generation to the next and the location of The Maplewood moved from Lake Avenue to Daniel Drive in Webster. Coming to understand that our original building would no longer be the familiar spot where my mom and dad reported to work each day. What was going to happen? After several years, those memories faded and a new reality of life in Webster became familiar to me and my siblings.

As my parents grew older, the passage of time translated into their retirement and I took hold of the reigns of the business. What would I do that could possibly hold a candle to all that came before in those many years? I have to say it was pretty daunting.

Now, after 20 years of running the business on my own, I have a different perspective and I don’t worry as much. It kind of goes back to where I started this article and what I heard as people described the life of former President Bush. This man took life on as it came at him. Life happens hour by hour, day by day, one interaction at a time. There are things we can control, and more often, there are things we cannot control. We can choose to yield to the fear of the unknown or we can choose to move ahead boldly and take it on.

Each day as I talk to our residents, family members and staff, I am amazed at the stories I hear about how people have moved forward against incredible odds and have chosen to take it on.

We can learn a lot by talking with our elders and hearing those stories. As we begin 2019, let’s consider their example. By taking some time to listen, we can learn a great deal, shed some fear and gain a good bit of confidence as we truly discover what it means to gracefully go ahead and take it on.