All that truly matters

Welcome to 2019! 

The years seem to move more and more quickly, don’t they? I look back and can’t believe how long it has been since I graduated from college. I think the older you get the faster time flies! Where does the time go?

Occasionally I will turn to my wife Kris and say, “Did ya ever think?” followed by something that is going on at that particular moment. Did we ever think back 40 years ago that we would be in this place doing what we are doing? Did we ever think that I would be called by God to serve Him and His church as a deacon? Did we ever think we’d have three grandsons? Who knew where life would lead us when we exchanged those Marriage vows? This “Did ya ever think” statement will always cause us to pause for a moment to think and occasionally chuckle. As an example, I once turned to her and said, “Did ya ever think that I would be writing for The Anchor?” OK Kris, you can stop laughing now! Please! She does say that she knows that God has a sense of humor because He created me!

What I do know, is that looking back over all of those years, I certainly can see that I have been truly blessed, and I give thanks to the Almighty God for all that He has given me in my life. I look forward to the future with that same excitement of my grandsons waiting for Christmas morning!

Sometimes life is moving so quickly, however, that we don’t have an opportunity to stop, take a deep breath and ponder what is important. This is the perfect time of year, for me, to take stock of my life as we enter the New Year.

Before I can look forward, however, I have to look back. What lessons have I learned that will help me move forward? As I was thinking about this, I received one of those “forwarded emails.” You know, the ones that say you should send this on to 10 friends that you know, by midnight, or live with the consequences? Generally, I send them to the trash bin, but since this one came from a trusted friend, I opened it. 

It was a list of life’s lessons, written by a 90-year-old woman by the name of Regina Brett. The items listed got me thinking about what I’ve also learned. I hope that some of these lessons learned will give you an opportunity to pause, to sit calmly, and to ponder what is truly important to you as we begin this New Year.

I’ve learned that:

— God knocks and knocks and knocks until you open the door;

— There is nothing more important than family;

— There is nothing in life that God and I can’t get through together;

— It is taking me a long time to become the person I want to be;

— It is not what you have in life, but whom you have in your life that counts;

— The woman I married is my soul mate in every sense of the word;

— I need to forgive everyone everything;

— That money is a lousy way to keep score;

— That even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help;

— That background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become;

— To whom much is given, much is expected;

— Just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to, doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have;

— You can keep going long after you can’t;

— It’s OK to get angry with God, He can take it;

— We need to be men and women for others;

— Miracles do happen every day. Believe;

— Proper planning prevents poor performance;

— Bread with fiber is more like cardboard with a little bread in it;

— It is important to over prepare and then go with the flow;

— God loves me because of Who God is, not because of anything I did to deserve it;

— If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back;

— Time heals almost everything. Give time time;

— My daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren are a wondrous gift from God;

— I need to pray as though everything depends on God, but act as though everything depends on me;

— You need to save for retirement starting with your first paycheck. Thank goodness I did; and

— Everything can change in the blink of an eye, but fortunately, God never blinks!

But most importantly, the greatest lesson I’ve learned is that all that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

Anchor columnist Frank Lucca is a deacon in the Diocese of Fall River, a youth minister at St. Dominic’s Parish in Swansea and St. George Parish in Westport, and a campus minister at UMass Dartmouth. He is married to his wife of 40 years, Kristine, and the father of two daughters and their husbands, and three grandsons. So blessed!

Comments, ideas or suggestions? Please email him at DeaconFrankLucca@comcast.net

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