Dear Family and Friends,
Life lessons come in many forms. Sometimes it’s words from a pastor, mentor, or friend. Sometimes in watching someone else go through the highs and lows of life. Often, it’s simply “living and learning” through our own experiences that are thrown our way.
I have lived and experienced quite a bit of “life” since being at BVT: the birth of two children, the death of a parent and a grandparent, navigating through a global pandemic, and countless others too great to mention in this post. But over these 10 years at BVT, I truly believe the “life lessons” I have learned right here on this campus will be some of the most valuable I have or will ever experience.
And perhaps just as significant are the friendships at BVT I have made along the way – people that will forever hold a special place in my heart.
BVT is truly unlike any other place on earth. The love, care, and compassion displayed to our residents are invaluable attributes that everyone associated with BVT can be proud of. I am simply honored to have been a part of it.
Whether it was being a witness to the care our staff showed to our residents during COVID, the compassion displayed following the loss of fellow residents or staff, or simply the joy and smiles that exuberate from our residents’ faces each day – BVT is truly special.
Perhaps the greatest life lessons I have or will ever learn have come from the very ones who I spent my days with right here at BVT…the residents. They taught me what living life is really all about. And have perhaps given me the best “parting” gift I could ever ask for. Over the course of my years here, these are some of the life lessons I have learned from the residents that I will be holding near to me for the rest of my days:
- Don’t sweat the small stuff.
- Always see the good in others.
- Make everyone feel like a king or queen.
- Give compliments to others…often.
- Remember how good it feels when you are complimented.
- Always say thank you.
- Always say “hello” to someone, even if it means yelling from 300 feet away to get their attention.
- Don’t miss the opportunity to talk to “important people.”
- Make others feel important.
- Remember that you are important to someone.
- Never become too busy to help someone else.
- You have no excuse to not help someone else.
- Don’t limit someone based on the world’s view of them.
- There is joy in the simple pleasures of life.
- Money, possessions, and shiny things aren’t the source of happiness.
- Live and let live.
- There’s no room for holding grudges.
- Never underestimate the power of a hug.
- Be happy for others when they receive accolades, even if it means you don’t receive one.
- Laugh at jokes, even if they’re not funny.
- Be unapologetic in sharing your faith with others.
- Give gifts.
- Be honest.
- Be yourself.
- Be happy.
Perhaps one of the greatest life lessons and reminders anyone has ever told me came from the wisdom shared from a resident following the death of my father in 2013. On my first day back to work after his funeral, I passed resident Anne Marie as we were both entering the BVT chapel. Anne Marie stopped me and said, “I am sorry to hear about your daddy passing away, Steven.”
After thanking Anne Marie for her concern, she said “My daddy passed away too. And I was really sad for a while. But then I remembered, he wouldn’t want me to be sad. He would want me to be happy. And I’m sure that’s what your daddy wants for you too. For you to be happy.” Out of all of the words of comfort and counsel I had received following my father’s death, nothing had been more real or raw than the words from Anne Marie that day – my dad indeed would want me to be happy.
Of all the life lessons I will be walking away with this month, my simple prayer is that I made a fraction of an impact that others at BVT have made on me. What a privilege it has been.
Life will take us down various roads. It will lead us to different destinations, often to new and uncharted territories. And along the journey, we will run into mountains and valleys, roadblocks and rainbows, sorrow and solace. People need good people beside them through it all. I have only been so blessed to walk down this journey with some of the best.
And because of that, I have been able to do hard things. And I have no doubt, you can too.
Until next time,