Helpful Hints from Harmony
“Life is Good When You Live in Harmony”
(A word of explanation: I live in a little place called Harmony, Florida, where life is a bit slower and nature is right outside our door. I’m also familiar with another Harmony, which isn’t a place at all but a way of being. This year I’d like to share 12 simple lessons I’ve learned from my time in Harmony.)
Helpful Hint #1: Focus on People Rather than Things.
When I look for a good place to invest my resources, one of my top criteria is whether it will deliver value over the long haul. By that measure, it makes a lot of sense to invest in human relationships.
I believe that when we leave this life we take only three things with us: our character, our wisdom, and our relationships. It’s pretty certain that we don’t take any of our stuff. I love the way Billy Graham puts it: “I’ve never seen a U-Haul truck in a funeral procession.”
I disagree with the bumper sticker that reads: “Life is a game and he who finishes with the most toys wins.” All too often the holder of the most toys has left a trail of broken promises and shattered relationships. In many cases he spends his later years grumpy and alone.
Unfortunately, toys break, shiny chariots get rusty, and jewels can be stolen. He who spends his strength collecting things may find in the end that he has a large collection of them — but little else that matters.
Don’t get me wrong. I like pretty things and intriguing objects as much as the next guy. Personal objects can often provide the means to engage others and to expand our influence. For example, a good friend of mine uses his beautiful bass boat as a tool to spend quality time with family and friends. There’s nothing wrong with that.
But when we set our hearts on things and let them get in the way of the significant people in our lives, we run the risk of damaging what is most important. Rvel Howell said it well. “People are made to be loved and things are made to be used. The greatest tragedy in the world is that we use people and love things.”
I have observed that those who love people, who lift them up and give service back, are constantly surrounded by the warmth of family and friends. They live healthier, happier, and longer lives. They have shelter in the storm and light in the gloomy night.
When we focus on people rather than things, we discover that whatever we have is plenty. A shared loaf is twice as tasty and a shared memory lasts ten times as long. That’s what I call an exceptional return on investment.