Bring your life into balance

Empathy works. It always does.

We don’t chose the times we live in, we only chose how to respond

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 My grandfather and I are standing on the porch, ready for our daily 30 minutes of connection.

He stops and listens to the birds. “It is so beautiful here, so peaceful. I feel so happy to just stand here with you and listen. To feel the breeze on my skin, the sun on my face, to hear the songs of the birds. Just quiet. Nothing to do. Nowhere to go… I loved that back home. Sitting in the yard with my wife, your grandmother, watching our children run around. I loved working in my office and seeing your dad play with his cars on the carpet. I loved being with my family… It’s all I ever wanted…”

Tears drop down his eyes.

“You live in the world I dreamed of… Peaceful, safe, welcoming… I never wanted to be a hero. I much rather had lived a quiet life, full of love, laughter, togetherness. Much like the hobbits in Lord of the Rings… But we don’t chose the times we live in, we only chose how to respond to them…”

Tears roll down his cheeks.

Image courtesy to Wikimedia

“It is like you clearing up the poison ivy. Of course, you much rather read a book, or go for a hike, or relax in the sun. But that’s not your choice. Your choice is to eradicate it now or let it grow till it covers your grounds and blocks your path. I knew that if we didn’t stand up against the Nazi’s now, the consequences would be far worse, for far more people, than any risk I took individually. I didn’t chose my time, I only chose how to respond. I wished I had never had to make that decision.”

He starts sobbing.

“I wished I had seen your dad graduate, marry your mom, have her kids, be promoted at work… I wished I could have held you in my arms, your siblings, your cousins… I wished I had lived to be old enough to witness your dad grow into the source of support he is, for your mom, for you and your brothers and sisters, for his siblings, for his family-in-law… Gosh, he is a rock… An incredible son… An amazing man…”

Silence.

“I never chose the time I lived in, only my response… You honor me most by enjoying and appreciating the world I tried to contribute to.”

We sit together, quietly. Then his sobbing calms down.

“Your times are different. And it is your choice how to respond to them. I hope you bring your delight and gratitude into your response.”

—-

You want help to respond to the time you live in? Contact me 512-589-0482 to schedule a complimentary, discovery session.

Author: Elly van Laar

I am a coach. I specialize in helping mission-driven professionals bring their lives into balance. I have a Master's degree in Political Science, Leiden University, the Netherlands. I'm currently in an ICF-coaching certification program. I love meditation, walking, gardening, biking, and hanging out with family and friends.

One thought on “We don’t chose the times we live in, we only chose how to respond

  1. Wow, that’s sad. Really sad, and yet very beautiful. I’ve always loved the word respond, rather than react. Respond means we contemplate, throw around ideas and make the best choice we can. Reacting has no contemplation, like a Soldier in war who is under attack. It’s a trained reaction. Sometimes we have to react, that’s life, but I try never to react if I have the time to respond, and do so in a way that hurts no one and benefits all. Wow Miss Elly, you really think deep. I love it, it makes me think deep. thank you.

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