What A Funeral, The Red River, & Texas Beef Brisket Taught Me

Karen and I took off on a mad dash to Texas this past weekend to pay our final respects to her grandfather, who sadly passed away last week after 88 incredible years. Even in the midst of loss, every part of this short weekend was memorable – getting to meet extended family for the first time, catching up with others whom we hadn’t seen in years.

Upon checking in for our flight, no seats were available for us to sit together. Naturally, I asked the young woman in the seat next to mine if she wouldn’t mind trading seats. Apparently, she was in the wrong seat to begin with, as I created a momentary logjam in the aisle. Thankfully, a gentlemen seated in Karen’s row bailed me out, as I sensed the ire of glaring passengers waiting to stuff their over-sized carry-ons into the undersized bins. He offered the man next to him, who was unlucky enough to be stuck in the middle seat, a free upgrade to an aisle seat, which he readily accepted.

Sitting next to the aforementioned generous man, we struck up a conversation. As we shared our stories prior to take off, his face beamed with pride as he talked about his two kids, his son a left tackle for a local college team and his daughter, pursuing a film degree. Being a military guy, he expressed concern that his daughter hadn’t buckled down and started a traditional job, but he realized he had to back off and let her find her own way. He mentioned that he felt better talking to me, since I work in multimedia and as I explained that it’s quite natural for many people to pursue free agency in this business, especially if they are more independently wired.

photo courtesy: jczart on Flickr.com

Much like the initial flight, there was something refreshing, invigorating even, simply by being in new places, interacting with interesting folks, crossing over the Red River between Texas and Oklahoma, being in the state of my birth (OK), and eating mouth-watering Texas beef brisket. Most importantly, we were able to celebrate and remember the life of a man who had allowed God’s glory to guide him throughout his days on this earth.

Getting outside my bubble reminded me that I must do it more often. Far too many of us live inside our made-up routine because it’s easy. Yet, it’s not the routine, daily grind that makes life worth living. The memorable moments occur by…

– Breaking routine

– Regularly traveling to new places

– Interacting with new people and learning from them

– Spending time with family

– Celebrating, remembering, and contemplating the life of someone who knew what it meant to live out his calling

– Being open to new adventures and ideas

– Considering that our lives may need adjusting after we’ve been exposed to new people, places, ideas, and experiences

– Allowing God to use us to encourage and serve as we intentionally engage in the present

All it took was a funeral, the Red River, and a little (really a lot of) Texas beef brisket to remind me.