My Grandfather died last month. I know that seems like a depressing way to start an article, and seems unrelated to collections, credit, prospective clients or consumers seeking help. However, his death made me think about the celebration of his life. In reflecting on his life, it seemed to tell a story that I think has life lessons for us all. While personal to me, I think this forum is as good as any to impart wisdom from my Grandpa who by the way was responsible for my financial mantra, “if you watch your pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves.”
My Grandfather was 97 years old. That is a long life! I think all of us look for answers as to how we can also “live long and prosper” as Spock from Star Trek so eloquently phrased it. My grandfather lived long and while he didn’t own a yacht and rub elbows with the rich and famous, he prospered in ways that lead to a comfortable and happy life. As a young man my grandpa was a war veteran who fought under General Patton in WWII and was part of the brigade that helped free Czechoslovakia. He began his life as a young man saving others, serving his country, and following the rules. Perhaps this laid the foundation for a life that always included serving others, following the rules, and serving GOD and country.
It certainly laid the foundation for a man who was one of the most loyal individuals I have personally known. He and my Grandmother met just before he went to war. They wrote love letters and eventually married after his return. They were committed to each other for 69 years before her passing temporarily halted their earthly love. One wife, one true love… she was always good enough. Unfaltering and committed were the next lifelong characteristics that my Grandfather championed. Can’t we all learn from those kinds of life lessons?
As this young married man attempted to follow the rules, get a job, support his family, and be a good citizen; he took a job with a local hardware store. He worked there for 40 years until he retired. The same place while in different positions, it was one job and it was good enough. Let’s not forget my Grandmother who worked for the USPS for 40 years as well. Stable, steady people who were happy with what those careers provided for their family. Some might say this isn’t ambitious. Didn’t he want to make more money? In my opinion, the lesson is found in the way this young couple chose to live within their means, and be happy with what they had. It was good enough.
The final life lesson I have to share was a belief system. My Grandfather was very involved in his church being one of the founding members, 50 years ago. His belief system was strong. He was faithful to God, his Sundays, and choir practices. He loved the choir. I read a quote that said “talking is the voice of a human, singing is the voice of the soul.” Clarissa Pinkola Estes. If you ever met my Grandfather, you knew you had met a good soul. He sang for rest-homes, for church services, and while working in his yard. All the time he sang and stayed with that church, as you may have guessed, until the day he died. It was good enough.
So the story behind the story, the life lessons we can all learn, as everyone tries to keep up with the Jones’s, as they look for bigger, better, and faster; my grandfather discovered the best part of life. Happiness comes from within, from deep within the soul. He didn’t ask himself if he was good enough. He didn’t doubt to the point of making constant changes in the pursuit of happiness. In every area of his life; he was centered, steadfast, and loyal. Grandpa gives us a different spin, we should all strive to live a life where “good” is enough.