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God is awake

When my father was diagnosed with lymphoma in 1980 he taped a small paper with these words by Victor Hugo on the mirror in his bathroom:

Have courage for the great sorrows in life And patience for the small ones. And when you have laboriously completed your daily task, Go to sleep in peace. God is awake.

His cancer took him from us relatively quickly -- about 28 months from diagnosis to death -- but the example he set by the way he lived his life lives on in all of his children. He believed in God, in God's love, in himself, in family, in community and in humanity. He was a son, brother, athlete, soldier, husband, father, teacher, researcher, counselor and businessman -- at least. And he was good at all of it. Not perfect, no one is. But, he was good at everything he did. Here's some of what I learned from my father.

  1. Pray regularly with gratitude for your blessings and for strength to manage your shortcomings.

  2. Be aware of and help people who have less than you.

  3. Be kind.

  4. Have a good sense of humor.

  5. Think critically. Listen to different points of view with an open mind and an open heart. You might learn something.

  6. Work hard.

  7. Take care of yourself so you can take care of the people you love.

  8. Love life with all your heart.

There's a lot more. But that's enough. In fact, it's plenty.

This week, have courage. Have patience. Work laboriously at your task. God is awake.

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