My best friend Tim got married yesterday.
I didn’t have a drop of alcohol, but I’m still buzzing from the event.
The ceremony was beautiful, the bride and groom were euphoric, and having our closest friends together in one room again felt like magic.
But the shining star of the show, for me, was actually Tim’s 73 year old Mom.
I hadn’t seen her in a few years, so there was a lot to catch up on — and along the way, she reminded me of a lesson I hope I’ll never forget.
Here’s the story:
Tim’s Dad left when he was very young, so his Mom raised all five kids — two of her own, plus three adopted children — all by herself, while working as head of emergency at the local hospital (not exactly an easy job).
She then set up her practice as a family doctor, and managed over 3500 patients, which is more than than double the capacity of most MD’s.
It might be hard to understand how impressive that is, so I’ll put it this way:
When she retired last year, a pair of two experienced doctors (plus assistants) took over her practice, and then quickly tried to give it back because they couldn’t handle the workload she had been handling by herself for over 40 years.
Really, take that in.
And then, imagine doing it as a single Mom raising five kids, while rarely missing a game or sparing even one of them an ounce of love.
And then — here comes the knockout punch:
Imagine doing all of that while battling cancer, off and on, for several decades.
Respect doesn’t even begin to explain what I feel for her.
Jaw-dropping awe comes a little closer, but still doesn’t quite do it.
And there’s more, too:
Like how all five of her kids absolutely adore her, how she’s still found time to travel the world, and oversee a variety of investments that will set her kids up long into the future.
It’s remarkably rare to meet a human being of that caliber.
And I took every opportunity to spend time with her last night, and listen to anything she had to say about anything.
After all, a person at that level transmits wisdom just by being who they are.
And while I could barely hear our conversation over the music, just being around her left me with a deep reminder of what it means to hold yourself to a standard of excellence.
Suddenly, my silly little complaints…
“I have so much to do to this week…”
“Man I’m tired, I wish I slept better last night…”
“There’s a blockage in my spine that still won’t release…”
“Why did I let my business partner lose all that money…”
“These chairs have no lumbar support…”
“My chicken is a little dry…”
…Became embarrassing, almost shameful, to even think about.
Of course, we all struggle with internal whining sometimes… And I think I do a pretty good job filtering most of it out.
But last night was a clear invitation to step up to the next level, and I won’t take it lightly.
I hope you feel the same.
Whatever our circumstances, whatever our struggle…
…There is someone out there who is carrying a far heavier weight, with less help and more grace.
Thank you Ruth Bell, for the reminder.
What a beautiful night.
Have an amazing Sunday over there.
You deserve it.