Life In Three Sentences

avatar By Andy Milligan RN, BSN, CHPN
President and CEO of Solaris Hospice.

Life these days is crowded with noise from all directions. Social media in particular has made the noise exponentially louder. Sometimes for good, but most of the time it’s just more noise. Occasionally, one of those loud channels like Facebook or Twitter will offer up a status update or tweet that cuts through like a knife. I don’t mean a nice quote that you just like more than most others you come across, or that post by your boss you feel obligated to like. I mean something that really hits home and stops you in the middle of whatever it is you were doing.

I came across one of those very posts recently (it’s not even really important who it was from). It simply said the following:

Focused love. Small life. Big rewards.

You may read this and not think much about it, but for me those three, two-word sentences filled my mind with thoughts. For starters, whether through background, education or my own off-based thinking, if I’m honest I have to admit I often view those last two sentences as completely incompatible. Small living and small thinking doesn’t lead to big rewards, right? For that matter, the definition of a small life is probably a matter of debate. But the real issue here is the first and last sentence, not the middle one.

Focused love leads to big rewards in any area you apply it; marriage, work, reaching out to single moms or the homeless, caring for the dying, or even the hopeless in a foreign land. The more I read this post over and over, I started to think maybe the second sentence is just a reminder that a big life (whatever that means to you) is not a requirement for the other two sentences to be true.

But it’s not just that. It could also be a warning that a big life risks having no focused love. Devoting a little of yourself to everything means committing a great deal of yourself to nothing. The very word focused indicates the inability to love everything equally. Our culture does a good job of putting on display all the wonderful things that it says come with a big life (money, fame, influence, etc). The trouble is, it could just be those are the only rewards a big life offers. Inevitably we discover the joy of those rewards is fleeting; an empty promise of happiness.

For reasons too long to list here, I regularly fall into the trap of thinking big impact requires a big life. Maybe you’ve thought the same way. The truth is your life, whatever size it may be, can have a huge impact with great rewards if it is driven by a focused love. It’s the only thing that will cause your life to reverberate long after you’re gone. Fame passes, companies die, accolades and status are soon forgotten, but a life lived with focused love yields eternal rewards.

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