Throughout my life I have been missed many appointments. I know I’m not alone in this as much of life is lived by the clock – we go from an appointment, to a meeting, to an event. Sometimes we are late and sometimes we miss what we were supposed to do, and with all the rushing through life we think, “this is crazy.” We believe we are in charge doing what we want, when we want, but only if it fits within our schedule (the human race within the rat race).
About six years ago I was in the middle of a race, a political contest, when I overheard Dick, a man I respected, say to my wife, “You know, the best thing that could happen to him is if he loses.” I wasn’t quite sure what he meant and since he wasn’t talking to me (only about me) I didn’t ask. He was about thirty years older than me, a successful businessman, a marine and quite outspoken in his beliefs. He believed, at least for me, that losing would be better than winning. In spite of his opinion, I continued running, and when I lost I tried again and lost again.
This time it’s going to be different. Today, in partial recognition of Dick’s wise words, I am announcing my non-candidacy for political office. To paraphrase William Tecumseh Sherman, “I am not running this race.”
This may not be news, but it is relatively new when compared to the whole of my life. Some little boys want to be fireman when they grow up. Almost as long as I can remember, I thought I would run for and get elected to . . . However, instead of getting elected, I got married. Instead of a political race, I raised my kids. So I waited and thirty years went by. Then, six years ago I thought, “Now is the time for me to achieve my lifelong dream.”
But that didn’t work out like I thought it would, which was a surprise to me,
as I thought I was doing what I was supposed to do – what I was called to do. Now, because I see a different finish line just over the next hill, I have to come to realize the political life is not for me. There are other races to run, other walks to go on, and other conversations to have.
Can a person change that much in six years . . .in their fifty-six years? Perhaps, but the rear-view mirror is only good for what’s behind you. I can’t go through life backing-up; a life of regret is a very sad life indeed. If ever I am to spend time with those I love it is now, if ever I am to write it is now, to listen to music, to play my banjo, to travel, to read, the time is now. As both my wife and Frank Zappa have said, “So many books, so little time.”
Many years ago I was late to a meeting. When asked why I was late, I informed the group that I had a breakfast appointment that ran over. Having given a reason that met with their approval I was forgiven. However, I would have not have forgiven myself if I had had missed breakfast with my two-year old daughter that morning.
Having a flexible schedule at this stage in my life is very important to me. One of the few things I have on my schedule is a weekly bagel and egg breakfast with my daughter and my two grandsons. I am not going to miss that appointment.