Many people in NC and SC have suffered through the effects of Hurricane Florence in the last week. While I am writing this, there are some who are still being evacuated even now due to rivers cresting. For some, it will be a long time, if ever, before their lives will return to normal. At times like this, it behooves us to remember what is really important in our lives, what really matters. As I think about this, I am convinced that there are three things that are most important, and these “things” are not tangible items that can be lost in a hurricane. Other things could be mentioned, but these three are most important. Two of these are related to the connection between oneself and others, and the third is more individual in nature and relates to connection with oneself.
The first most important variable is Faith. Faith in someone or something outside of ourselves. To many people, faith is religious and includes a belief in God and participation in a church. There are many different religious denominations with very different beliefs. The differences are not what matters. What matters most is the fact that people with a religious faith have a belief in God that transcends mortal life. God is supreme and in full control.
To others, faith does not include a belief in God or involvement in any religious denomination but is related more to belief in something outside of oneself. Religious or otherwise, people of faith believe life’s circumstances are not accidental; they are a part of their life’s plan, for there are no accidents. People of faith recognize that they do not know why things happen in their lives, such as hurricanes, but they trust that there is a master plan in place.
The second important variable is Relationships. There are two types of relationships that are most important, personal and professional. Personal relationships include family and friends. Family can be biological or chosen. Friends can be lifelong friends or those who have become friends more recently. There is much research that proves that relationships are what is most important to most people. In times of crisis such as hurricanes that do much damage to life and property, people cling to their close relationships to get through those times. Supportive spouses and children and other close relatives, blood or chosen, are the most important personal relationships.
Many people have close professional relationships and these can also be life sustaining. I spoke to one of these professional associations this week, the ABWA, the American Business Women’s Association’s Professional Women’s Seminar in Pigeon Forge, TN. It was obvious that these women (and a few men!) choose to be together in this professional association, and that some of them are also close friends. They were engaging, accepting, and inclusive of people they knew, and those of us whom they did not know. This professional association felt different than some others with which I have been associated through the years of my professional career, especially those associations in which involvement was an expectation. The ABWA members chose to be together for reasons that were more related to mutuality and a genuine like for each other, not a business expectation.
The third important variable is Aspiration. Aspiration is defined as “a hope or ambition of achieving something.” Those with an aspiration are more likely to weather life’s storms, literal or figurative, because they want to achieve something they have not yet achieved. They are still engaged in the living of life and are not ready to let life slip through their fingers. The aspiration can be business related but does not have to be. The aspiration can be more personal in nature, such as ones’ “bucket list,” or family goal. Another definition of aspiration is “a strong desire or longing,” which speaks to the emotional component of an aspiration, which makes it different than just a goal.
Faith, Relationships, and Aspiration. Whether we think about these in the midst of a hurricane or while we are safe from any weather disruption, it is important to not take life for granted. Let’s spend sufficient time on important matters.
And continued thoughts and prayers for those in harm’s way.