When I graduated from college and started working, I was very determined to work hard and obtain as much wealth as I could. I realized there were lots of people working that had more experience than me, and were more intelligent than me, so I knew I would have to work harder than they did to receive promotions. Thankfully, I was healthy, so that wasn’t a problem.
After a taste of success with promotions and better compensation, I developed a mantra for myself. My mantra was “I want there to be some gold in my golden years,” and I was willing to work hard to reach that goal. I wanted to be financially able to retire when I was 50 years old, if I chose to, and I didn’t want my wife to think she needed to work. If she wanted to work, that was fine with me, but I didn’t want her to feel as though we needed her income.
It is embarrassing to say, but when I received a promotion or an increase in my salary, I wasn’t satisfied. I always wanted more direct reports under me, a better title, more money, and all of the toys having more money could bring me. Even though I have had a company car and stock options, I felt something was missing. I knew I was handsomely compensated, and I wondered why I was so blessed. Ironically, at the same time I felt something was missing in my life. Often I would think, what will it matter in 10 years if I complete a project on time and under budget, so I felt there was something bigger and better out there.
After having a short trip to China and falling in love with the people and the country, I was offered a teaching position at a university. I was consumed with wanting to return to China, so I got a leave of absence from work and a kitchen pass from my wife, and I was off to China to be a college professor. For those of you that know my academic history, you will find some humor in this! While I was living in China, I met some amazing and truly needy people, and they were permanently on my heart and mind.
When I returned to the states through a crazy series of events, I started Global Partners in Life in 2004, and my life has never been the same. I have moved from wanting more for myself, to wanting to give more to others. I can honestly say that the old saying “it is better to give than receive” is true.
I am 56 years old, and I am thrilled about going to work every day. I don’t hear many people saying that, so I consider myself extremely fortunate! As I see people my age enjoying the highest salaries they have seen in their careers, purchasing vacation homes, traveling to exotic places, and building up large retirements accounts, I must admit that I sometimes feel as though I have been left behind. Thankfully, that doesn’t last long, because when I see a child that can walk that couldn’t walk before Global Partners in Life provided for their surgery, that is my new gold. When I see a child that can eat and they grow stronger after we provided for their cleft pallet surgery, that is my new joy. When a child with blue lips and fingernails crawls in my lap and wants to look at pictures in a book with me because they have a hole in their heart and they can’t play with the other children, to being right in the middle of a laughing mass of children playing in the center of a room, that is my new dessert in life. When I take children outside to play that usually don’t go outside to play, because there aren’t enough adults to watch them and I get to see them smiling and enjoying a somewhat normal day for a child, that brings my soul happiness beyond my ability to describe! At one point in my life when I saw a friend driving a beautiful new vehicle, I would like to have one also. Presently, I think I wonder how long I could feed the special needs orphans Global Partners in Life provides for with the amount spent on the vehicle. Now, I feel sorry for the people that don’t have the joy I have from helping the people God has placed on my heart.
My grandson and I had this very talk this weekend. He is coming to life from the young end and I am coming from the old end. Lots of wisdom in this piece.