When I was young, and I was young once, adults used to talk about the importance of having a value system. I never gave it much thought until recently. Though I feel in excellent condition, get up and go to work every day and still have time preach at two churches, I have finally hit the dreaded “health problems” wall.
I used to hate to listen to people in line at the supermarket talking about all their health conditions.
“My doctor wants me on this,” or “He says if I hadn’t gotten to him quickly I would have died.”
I used to roll my eyes and wonder if they didn’t have something else to talk about. “How about those Buckeyes!”
Now I am about to go through a life-changing procedure and I hope I am facing it with grace. But the result is that everyone asks – “How are you feeling?” and my answer is always the sam – “I’m fine.” That’s because I am fine. I know some things in my life will change, but my attitude toward getting up every day and going to work won’t change and that is actually who I am after all.
So what does all that have to do with a value system? Well, I have thought about it and thought about it recently and I have decided I have a good value system though it might show my age. As I view “stuff.” I find I need less and less of it. As I view time-wasting, I find I actually want to do more of that. I am actually content sitting and doing nothing once in a while, and there was a time when I couldn’t do that at all.
I have decided friends are dearer and I want them nearer, but not so near they suffocate me. I find myself wanting to spend more time with my pets than with most people and that doesn’t bother me at all.
After all the changes I have gone through over the years, I have determined that my wife is my best friend, my confidant, and someone I can commiserate with. I consider sitting and watching a movie with her one of the great pleasures of life and I cherish each of those moments.
Talking to my children and grandchildren on the phone is something I really look forward to. Both my sons are successful and they got that way probably in spite of me. But I’ll take credit for them. They are bright, resilient, and they have a work ethic they learned from their dad and mom both. We get up every day and go to work – they do too.
I am proud of my grandchildren. Tyler hit the workforce running and loves his job. Caitlin is off to college soon. I call those success stories.
So what are my values? First and foremost, I love Jesus Christ who gave his life for me and I love to teach and preach his word. There is absolutely nothing I look forward to more every week than teaching. I have written well over a thousand lessons since I started, and the truth is I learn more than I teach, but don’t tell anyone.
Next is my family. I have been married to the same woman for 48 years. I am proud of that. She is an independent soul who chooses to share her mind and creativity with me – I’ll take it. When I get a card on Father’s Day from my kids, I get absolutely giddy. Even through their busy careers, they actually pause to think about me. I am honored.
My friends are friends for life. Most are in my class that I teach, but others are just guys who want to talk football or politics and that’s fine too. Through my job, people who really are important treat me as if I am too and though I know I’m not, I am flattered.
What I am finding is that I am less and less interested in things and more and more interested in the little pleasures of life. There is absolutely nothing else that I need and that is contentment as far as I’m concerned. I find giving is a lot more fun than receiving. I would rather read the bible than sit in front of a computer screen and when Joyce is sleeping next to me and one of our cats is purring in between – I am home. Home is where my value system is. My current home and the home yet ahead in the next adventure of my life – the one beyond this life.
Those are my values and I kind of like them. They’re better than some and not as good as others, but they’re mine.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.