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The Three “F”’s

Have you thought about how you live your life and what drives it? During a speaker event many years ago, they had us write a business plan for our life. Not having done one before in any business class I was challenged. I wrote down the top twenty things important in my life.  Then I cut that in half. Then in half again. Finally to the top three things important in my life today and for the future. Those three things were and are today faith, family, and friends. Those three things have brought me more joy, laughs, tears, comfort, and gotten me through every difficult challenge in my life. Alone they do wonders but all three together have helped form a rewarding and purposeful life.
FAITH: I remember growing my parents said there were three things they never discussed in public. That was politics, sex, and religion. Well 30 years later the open discussion of politics has led to a very polarized country. No matter where you stand debate has been healthy and a freedom we enjoy as Americans. Sex? Well as a parent of young children there is not a medium be it print, radio, television, or internet where sexual connotations aren’t present. That leaves religion. I will not get preachy but I know that my faith sustained me through four critical moments in my life; my grandfather’s death, my father’s death, a divorce, and this ALS diagnosis. I wouldn’t be the man I am today without faith in that number one position. No matter what faith you practice, make it the center of your life and it will get you through anything.
FAMILY: This is easy. Coming from a family of six siblings you will no doubt
have different bonds with one another but they are all special and equally important. The biggest challenge in my life relating to family came when I went through a divorce when my two older boys were only 5 and 3. My most prized possession in life was torn apart and I was now a single father raising two boys by himself as I had placement of the children and I was trying to figure out my life. Certainly the three “F”’s got me through but it was my boys that provided me the strength I needed. I kept on asking myself how I could be strong for them and provide for them in this “new normal.”
On the weekend my now ex-wife was moving out of our home I took the boys to the
Dells. When we came home there were pictures removed from the walls, bed frames gone, televisions removed, etc. Reality had set in and I was about to lose it emotionally. Not wanting to have them see me cry I went to the bedroom and sat on the bed with tears flowing. Just then my boys walked in and asked what was wrong. I said “oh I miss your mom. “My oldest son said” It’s okay dad, you know how much mom likes to watch television.” He thought I was crying because the television was gone and it was his way of comforting me. It was in that moment I realized that they were going to be the strength for me as well. It wasn’t the ideal situation but I, along with their mom and now their step-dad and step-mom have raised two fine young men and added 3 more children combined to the families. We all get along well and the Lord did his work. I love my family more than anything in this world and I love exactly how things have worked out.
FRIENDS: Webster’s definition of friend is “a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.”  One of the greatest compliments anyone could ever give me would be to call me their friend. I don’t have to talk to someone every day or week to know they are my friend. I just know that if I call and need anything they will be there. I don’t have enough time to name all of my friends here but I would hope they would know who they are for they have helped me in more ways they will ever know and I love them all.
In the end, I hope everyone lives life through those things important to them. If not, think of  your own “Three F’s” or use mine and you will lead  a more fulfilling rewarding life.

FAITH is like the WIND,

you can’t SEE it,

but you KNOW it is there

6 responses to “The Three “F”’s

  1. Cheryl Lange ⋅

    Thank you Jim … I’m so proud everytime I get the chance to explain how our family has grown over the years. We are all blessed. Love to you all.

  2. Holly ⋅

    Jim that is amazingly touching. Your words resinated so much with our beliefs as a family. We believe it is the priority of family, friends, and just the pure love of humanity that will shift the world as we know it today. The heart perceives long before the mind conceives! Thank you so much for sharing this journey. I look forward to many many more posts!

    Love and light

  3. John and Karen Boler ⋅

    I am honored to have you as a friend.

  4. John and Karen Boler ⋅

    Really great blog Jim. We are proud to be your friends. Can’t wait to make more great memories with you and Susan this weekend.
    Your FRIENDs,
    John and Karen

  5. Rob Burtch ⋅

    Jim – You are a rock. You have always been a great inspiration to me as a family man, businessman, and a friend. Great blog.

    Rob Burtch

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