I grew up thinking I wanted a Ferrari, tons of money and to be able to do whatever I wanted. My work came before everything else. I only had time for people who could benefit my business. Each time I hit a business goal, it only raised the bar higher. This was a never-ending, empty cycle of accomplishment.
When I had to deal with my first son’s illness and a failing marriage, that’s when it finally broke me. So I asked God for help. I felt inadequate, foolish and lonely. I had become the man I planned to be, but not the man God wanted me to be.
I learned that Jesus makes it clear in the Bible that our focus on this earth is to love God and love people (Matthew 22:36-40). That hit me hard since I wasn’t doing either well. I wanted to change! I started giving God credit for everything and trusting His plans. A curiosity started in me about who Jesus is. I prayed and studied the Bible. I realized God doesn’t force Himself on me. He’s always been there patiently waiting for me to recognize Him. I also discovered that loving God is easier than loving people.
People are messy. How do I love messy?
I realized I had relationships only with people who could offer me some benefit or who shared my interests. What about all those other people? The messy people. I decided I was going to figure out a way to love the people I had been avoiding. If I wanted to stop viewing people as transactions, I knew I had to start understanding who each one is as an individual.
I experienced something new, and I want more! I have started to sit and listen to strangers’ life stories, and something awesome happens. It’s hard to describe. The person realizes I don’t have an agenda to sell them anything. I’m simply there and curious about who they are and what has happened to them. When they let their guard down and feel free to share, it begins. The start of understanding, the start of peace by seeing similarities instead of differences, the start of preserving legacies, the start of loving people who don’t fit into my comfort zone, the start of making people feel they matter.
So to expand this journey, I’m asking you to help me find people who need to tell their story and who want to listen. They could be veterans, foster/adoptive parents, refugees adjusting to life in the US, people of various faiths, recently released inmates, people with disabilities, and terminally ill people. Let’s all start by sharing… and listening.
Dave Rolf, Starter
Four Benefits of doing this
Pass the torch
Preserve our legacy by passing wisdom down through generations.
Peace happens when we focus more on similarities than differences. How do we feel loved, how can we encourage each other, what do we fear, what gets us excited, how are we growing, who are we helping? We must see the humanity in everyone.
Listen to love
Too many people in this world feel like no one knows them. No one understands where they are coming from. Everyone must be shown they are valuable, they matter, and they have a purpose. They need to be reassured they will be remembered and that they are loved.
There is power in connecting people through shared experiences. We’ve all been on the same road at some point. Shared experiences create bonds and inspire us.