The sum of my life’s wisdom can be summed up succinctly. In fact, so succinctly it’s embarrassing. But I’ve come to believe it’s the one thing that so many people I meet don’t know.
Ready? Here it is: It’s not about me.
That’s it. You were expecting something better? A little more Confucian? A parable, perhaps?
Don’t knock it. It’s hard won knowldge from my little life, however. I spent the first thirty years or so not knowing it- in fact without even having a clue about it.
The day I graduated from college I thought proudly that I was a college graduate.
On the day I fell in love with my wife I thought to myself that I was in love and why on Earth would this wonderful woman fall in love with me.
On the day of my wedding I looked in the mirror and told myself I was going to be a husband.
When I first learned I was becoming a father, my wife and I stared at the pregnancy test and I thought to myself that I was going to be a father.
I don’t know when it happened but at some point between changing diapers, feeding babies in the dark so as not to wake my wife in our old one bedroom apartment, holding my wife’s hair out of her face as she suffered morning sickness I figured it out. Almost through osmosis I figured it out. It’s not about me.
I’m not a great thinker. I never really fully understood Neitzsche or “Waiting for Godot.” But I’ve learned that most of my unhappiness stems from my will and my wishes conflicting with what was happening in my real life.
Like I wanted to be out with a friend but the baby is sick so you sit there miserably holding the baby. Stuff like that.
I’m happier now that I’ve learned it’s not all about me. My wants and wishes don’t rule the entire world nor do they even rule mine. And it’s nice that way.
When the world was about me, believe me when I tell you it was a heavy thing to carry around all the time.
As a child I imagined that everybody simply disappeared every time I shut my eyes or turned around.
As I grow older I realize I want the world to go on when I close my eyes. I realize I’m not diminished by not having the power to turn off the world. I’ve come to respect the One who does have that power and love him for not doing it. Anyway, I know one day I will close my eyes and I want my children to live, love and come to realize that no matter how much I love them, this world is not all about them.