Saturday, January 11, 2014

What #LivingLikeRick Has Taught Me

My world was shattered on this day last year when I heard of the sudden passing of my dear friend, Rick Stilwell. It's hard to believe it has already been a whole year; the hurt from the loss still feels so fresh. After Rick passed, I made a commitment that I would make a solid effort to #LiveLikeRick. Everyone who knew him understands the basis of this philosophy. I am not going to try and expound on that today. I have covered that ideal elsewhere on the blog. What I want to offer today are some of the lessons that #LivingLikeRick has taught me this year, and how I have tried to honor his memory the best way I can.

1) Genuinely sharing your faith doesn't always require words. One of the things Rick used to say is that if sharing your faith requires a lot of words, then you are doing it wrong. Rick was the same person alone and in the dark as he was in public. I have tried to achieve that standard in my own life this year.

2) Always show up for things. This ideal has not always been my strongest. I am more known in our circle of friends as the guy who doesn't always show up. I want to change that. This past year I have endeavored to show up more. Rick always told me that we don't show up for the sake of showing up. We show up because if we don't, we miss an experience that will never come again.

3) Pour yourself into others, and, when possible, do it over coffee. Over the last year, I have made a very profound effort to invest in others. It is not always possible to meet for coffee, so I have tried to supplement that by using my Social Networking to pour what I can into others. I don't think it is cheating, but I have to admit that the in-person-over-coffee method is far more effective and rewarding. I believe Rick would say, just do it, and let the "how" work itself out.

4) Passion is an investment of time and hard work. I finally read Crush It, this last year. It was a life-changing book for Rick. For me, it was a reminder of what it means to #LiveLikeRick. Love your family, work hard, and work your passion are the three main principles of Crush It. Rick certainly embodied these three precepts. For me, it required some re-thinking of my passions. To make a long story short, I can honestly say that I am happier in my spiritual, personal, and professional life than I have ever been. Getting here was not easy at all. I had to read more, study harder, think deeper, ask tough questions, deal with tougher answers, and face my demons. Is it worth it? You bet. The best part is when a student, church or family member says, "Wow. I never thought about (it) that way before." I smile and wink up at Rick when that happens.

5) As a husband and father, my number one job is to pursue my family. Fundamentalist "head of the house" Bible thumpers may take issue with me on this point, but hear me out. The Bible is a love story about a perfect God pursuing fallen man. To say I love my family is one thing, and it is a very true thing. To really love them is to pursue them. How? It's all about the little things. Spending time, sharing a meal, having a conversation, sending a text message or Facebook post, are all but a few ways to do this. This is an area where I have admittedly not been the best, but I am trying, and I will keep trying, no matter what.

6) Quot homines, tot sententiae. In Latin, this means, "So many men, so many opinions." Rick looked at the individual as a "story." As each of us share our collective stories, we make a bigger and better story. This Latin expression reflects the opposite of that. Sabres are rattling everywhere as people or groups of people seek to be "right." Rick would argue that it is better to talk things out and foster connection and understanding than to simply be right. Conversations are so crucial to #LivingLikeRick. Conversations lead to connections which lead to understanding and appreciation. As a pastor and a teacher, this has been difficult. It is easier for me to preach to or lecture to you about what it is and what it isn't. To be quiet and listen to what others have to say bridges a very large gap that exists between people.

How has #LivingLikeRick impacted your life? Feel free to share!
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