Starting at the End
Sometimes the simplest things turn out to be the biggest blessings. Our hot tub is one such thing. And to think I almost didn’t agree to its purchase! Jeff was relentless in his pursuit of owning a hot tub, and his dogged determination to fulfill this life long dream, has certainly paid off. In ways we would have never expected.
A few times a week you can find us there, toques in the winter, and shades in the summer, soaking up the warmth of the water and one another’s presence. It is the place where Jeff and I find our inspiration, have deep conversations, and put plans in place to help us realize our dreams. And like many meaningful things, we stumbled into this practice.
One night while relaxing in the hot tub Jeff and I were discussing the character traits we hoped our children would possess in their adult years. We hoped, like so many other parents, that our children would be kind and compassionate; confident in their inherent worth.
We hoped they would be tender hearted to those most vulnerable in their midst; people who would not just stand by, but would do something.
We wanted them to have dreams they were not afraid to chase.
We also prayed they would enjoy a marriage that was as fulfilling as ours. We hoped our children would be spouses who loved their partners deeply; noticed and did the little things.
People who were of strong character; doing what was right when no one was looking.
We had a profound revelation. These little people, who still needed their noses wiped and food cut up, would be adults for far more of their lives than they would be children in our home. In essence, we were raising adults not children. What we did in our few short years with them, would impact their whole lives and that of their own children.
This felt so big and weighty that it actually made us feel powerless. However, being frozen in fear was not going to help us accomplishing anything. So we asked ourselves, “What can we do today to just take a step in the right direction?”
This question gave us hope. It made the things that seemed so heavy and so far away, feel smaller, more manageable, and immediate.
What began as a question we asked ourselves about our children’s future, soon become the lens we examined our whole life through. Living life this way, has been deeply satisfying.
If we know where we are trying to go, it is easier to find a tangible step for today, in order to see a greater future reality. If we want our children to be compassionate and caring adults, we have to do more than just hope that’s how they turn out.
If we want to go on a yearly vacation, we have to save and not spend all our discretionary income.
If we want more free time on the weekends, we have to quit saying yes to every invitation that comes along.
If we want a strong marriage, we need to make hot tub time a priority.
Hot tub time is sacred; it is the place we stop and connect and plan our life. It is where we are continually asking each other and asking ourselves what is our end game? If we could pick the ending right now, what would success look like? What do we need to do today to make that a reality? Nothing is free from this type of scrutiny.
Being thoughtful about where we want to end up, compels us to examine our actions for today and makes the goal feel attainable. Rome wasn’t build in a day and either is a good marriage or compassionate children. Based on our experiences, we greatly increase our chances of success if we decide our end goal in advance and just do the next right thing to move us in that direction.
Starting at the end and working our way back to today is how we have turned hopes into realities. Intentionally; one day at a time, moment by moment. Our Secret Sauce.