By Kenneth Stepp
The good life… What does that look like to you? Is it the right house, car, or things? If that’s the case, then winning the lottery or marrying money is what it will take for you to be happy. Well, for a minute. Imagine your dismay when you find out that “great stuff” has nothing to do with being happy or what we call, the good life. We can all define this wonderful place in life. Most see it as a fantasy. Me. I’m living that life today. I enjoy life. Every last minute of it. I wasn’t completely aware how good life was until I received a call from an old friend the other day.
“Feeling lost, crazy and desperate belongs to a good life as much as optimism, certainty and reason.”
― Alain de Botton
My phone rang. It was my old friend, Huey. Now a pastor and a spiritual rock. He loves to talk about what I am writing about. The good life. He describes how wonderful life is and that he is wealthier than he ever imagined he would be. My friend is educated and was, like me, a very successful business owner. We met when we were on top. Or I was, he was in the beginning stages of financial decline. Yet his faith was amazing. God had his back. He just needed to be open to receive whatever that was. My friend wasn’t a rock. His faith was. What I didn’t know was meeting my friend would be preparation for what was to come in my life. Loneliness, sadness, and poverty. None of which I would have believed would ever be a part of my life. I was on top, remember?
“You will be remembered more for your bangs in life, than the bling.”
― Anthony Liccione
My life then. I had a business that paid me nearly a million dollars per year, a wife that loved me, kids that respected me, I was in leadership in a mega church, and had standing in the community. No way all that would ever go away. I was riding a wave of money and wonderment. What could possibly go wrong? Famous last words… One day I noticed money, or cash flow in the business was becoming tight. I quickly hired an outside firm to figure it out. $1.3 million dollars. Gone! Stolen by some employees I would have trusted with my life. They were on meth. A low point in their lives. We lost everything. Houses, properties, respect, and finally. We lost each other. Broke, single, and without the friends I had obviously been renting. I was devastated. I had to rebuild my life. No clue how that could happen.
“Do not run away from your challenges. You must endure and overcome each challenge.”
― Lailah Gifty Akita
Flash forward four years and 4 months after my marriage fell apart. To the call I received from my friend. He said, Kenneth, I am wealthy now and so are you. I laughed. He asked. Do you remember when we were on top? How every day was filled with how we would get through that very day? The stress, the long hours, the isolation from everyone that mattered? Do you? I said, yes, it was awful. He reminded me that we struggled hourly to make ends meet back then. He was right. Then he asked. What are your days like now? Wow! They are amazing my friend. I work from home, I get out every day and have an adventure of some kind. I have almost no bills, I have all I need, I live in a beautiful house, in a great area, drive a great truck, and do anything my heart desires. He said. Back then you had stuff. Today you have freedom. Today you are wealthy Kenneth. We had our priorities upside down and backwards then.
“We got life to live, not to survive, do the things you always want to & be the person you always desire to be. don’t let other people deal with it..!!”
― Ridhdhesh Jivawala
Today is a new day. A wonderful day. As I search for my forever love. I realize I do have something to offer many people do not have. Serenity. Peace and the capacity to love unencumbered by the desire to chase things that are not really important. I can now offer my whole heart. Not one in a race to the top. This is the top and she can join me here. I suppose my soul mate will perceive life the way I do if we are to be together. My question is. Was her path like mine? Does she know the difference between urgent and important. Urgent screams while important waits patiently and silently. Will she “get” me? I think she will. Time will tell. And I have time.