The Sweet Spot

Ok…deep end time…

In the wake of this weeks tragic events at Virginia Tech, I found myself thinking about life…the brevity of it, the preciousness of every moment, the good things, the bad things, etc. I thought, “If my life ended today, could I say that I did what I was put here for?” Could I say that I had found my “sweet spot?”

What do I mean by “sweet spot?” I’m glad you asked. I have two different defintions. In the broadest definition, I mean those moments you know you will never, ever forget. Moments that are etched in your psyche like they were put there by the finger of God. As a husband and a father, I’ve had some of those moments: when Amanda and I kissed for the first time; when she told me I was going to be a dad; when I held Caroline for the first time; the first time Caroline smiled at me; pretty much everything that’s happened with me and my girls! But there are moments like the time I got to pray with a friend dying of cancer. In those moments, it’s like a tuning fork rings in your soul, and you realize that THIS is why you’re here. It’s to love, and to let yourself be loved.

But by “sweet spot” I also mean one thing. Think Jack Palance in City Slickers, holding up his finger to Billy Crystal. I firmly believe that God has given us all life, and alloted our days, for specific reasons. I think that each of us has a “mission,” if you will, a job that He’s given us to do. I think some people figure this out early on, and know what’s been put in their hearts, and they run after it with all thier might. For most of us, however, I don’t think it’s that clear. I know I’ve had this feeling in my gut for about 9 years now that there is something I’m supposed to do besides be a salesman. I don’t know what that is, although I’ve tried to “force the wedge” (that’s props to you, Bub, and our Trivial Pursuit days!) and make my ideas fit God’s plan. Obviously, that doesn’t work. But I know, in my heart, that there is something I’m supposed to do, besides being the best husband and father and friend that I can be.

I get glimpses, from time to time. I have moments when that tuning fork goes off, and I think, “yeah…this could be it!” But not yet. So I go on. I don’t do what I once tried, which is focus so much on the future that I miss the present. I try to live my life, savoring each day and each moment as best as I can. I fail miserably at this pretty much constantly, but I try. My prayer is that each of us will live our lives in the sweet spot. That we will try to enjoy the moments we’re blessed with, and yet still seek for the “one thing” that God has for us.

I hope the tuning forks in your hearts begin to ring loudly and clearly. I can’t think of anything more awesome than people living the lives God gave them to live.

Grace and Peace,

T.N.
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40 thoughts on “The Sweet Spot

  1. Yo Mattie, every sunday morning holding my guitar getting ready to rock for the lord even if it is in eflat i hear the tuning fork. BUT as you and I have dicussed their is no pay it seems in most of the tuning fork times. Which is ok we just tend to tie doing something for pay as being our sweet spot. I assume you have been reading “cure for the common life”

  2. Kaylee deep thoughts usually bring on thinking and reflecting on our selves which for most of us is not our favorite thing to do.

  3. Kaylee, it’s a good thing to take stock of ourselves every now and then. A very good thing.

    Ted, that’s a Shawshank reference, just for you.

    Bub, haven’t read Max’s book yet. When have I had time to read?

  4. Oat bran, sometimes I seriously wonder if we are related: you are over here writing this great post, while I’m in the wading pool trying to figure out a way to justify Manny.

    You and I have talked about this before, and I’ve almost come to this conclusion: I have a great wife and 3 wonderful children: maybe my sweet spot is right where I am. If I can raise these babies the right way, maybe one of THEM does something special. Maybe I’m just sort of the guide on the journey, while they will get the reward.

    Know what I mean? I know I’m not the most eloquent male in our family, but hopefully that makes some kind of sense.

    Pizza Roll.

  5. Pizza Roll, I think you may be onto something. I think that could be your thing, yet only you can know when that tuning fork goes off. It’s different for everyone, me thinks. For me, it’s like there’s a lock inside me that I haven’t found the key to open.

    But I’m looking!

  6. Oatmeal,

    It’s really hard for me to think deep. I joke alot, but it is. All I know is, being a Dad is the greatest thing I’ve ever experienced. And while I know my limitations, I look at my 3 stooges futures as being unlimited.

    Rakes, in particular, could be a very special human being one day: I pray every day that God would help me lead him to the good side, because the force is strong with him!

  7. Obi-wan,

    You don’t give yourself credit. I personally think this “I’m not a deep thinker” thing is part of your Napoleon complex from being 5′ 2″, or however tall you are. It’s all part of the redneck in the Ropers image you cultivated so you’d appear tough.

    You should have just grown your hair long and wore a trench coat. Believe me, people look at you diffently then!

  8. Ok, that was a goofy comment to an acutally serious post by you. I really don’t think you give yourself credit. I don’t know why you detest the deep end (hey, maybe you and Kaylee should talk!), but it’s a good thing…maybe the best of things.

    Shawshank, again!

  9. Ted don’t sell your self short. The dad and kids thing really is a requirment of us it shouldn’t be an option. Don’t be afraid to say what is Ted here for. S t r e a t c h your comfort zone. You haven’t even scratched your surface of potintial.(sp)

  10. Scott,

    I’ve never streached for anything in my life. I don’t intend to start now.

    I will stretch for the remote though.

  11. Great post, Oat Bran. Scottie is right; it sounds just like you’ve been reading Max’s “Cure For The Common Life”, which is excellent, by the way.

    Ted, I think your tuning fork goes off when you’re teaching 2 year olds. You’re good at it, and they love you.

    I’m not sure what my sweet spot is. Right now I think I’m supposed to be Mom, helping you boys at work and helping Keith at home so he can keep up the two jobs.

    I think I’m supposed to get this right before something else is going to come along. I feel like I don’t measure up most of the time, but that’s why I’m so thankful for God’s grace.

  12. wait Ted teaches 2 yr olds at church?? so did i for many years….only special people can handle 2 yr olds and do well at it AND have the kids love them…I was one of them and NOW I know why ted and I get along.

    TN: sweet spot post awesome! I think in life your sweet spot can change from time to time. We can come into someone’s life and make a difference…then be out of it again.

    When I die…I want to be remembered for
    1st my unconditional love i have for my son and family
    2nd having passion about my beliefs
    3rd loyalty to friends
    4th ability to make people smile
    5th my love for baseball and the Sox

    my purpose? my mission? like I said..it has changed over time. I think Ive proven to those who know me…..that you can have fun and be serious about life when you’re older…growing older does NOT mean you have to be boring.

    the most important thing I want to pass on is making sure my son knows how to love unconditionally…and how to love a woman.

    i guess this means its my turn now.

  13. Tex, never knew you taught 2 year olds: I love it. Stacy say’s it’s because I’m on the same mental level they are, but that’s not true: I learn something new from them everyday!

    Tex, you and I are a kindred spirit, except for the depth thing: I’m as deep as a mud puddle!

    Does this mean the next edition of Don’t Mess with Texas is gonna require me to wear a life vest?

  14. Ted you and I are children at heart…which is a GOOD thing. Life will be interesting and kids will want to be around you…your kids friends…so its a good thing.

    yes I taught the 2 yr olds at my church for many many years…those at the church could not get over how I could wrangle 18 2 yr olds and manage them so well. They listened to me cos they loved me…

    ted….you won’t need waders or a life vest. Ill water it down for ya 🙂

  15. Thanks Tex, KISS is my motto: Keep it simple stupid.

    And I love being a kid at heart: the fact I was yelling like a maniac at my tv today proves it.

    Angie is mortified of course, but loves me anyway.

    Oat Bran, when do we get a new post?

  16. Tex, you continue to suprise me. You and Pizza Roll teaching 2 year olds?!! Never would have guessed! Maybe y’all could open a day care?

    Sis, I think God has a bigger sweet spot out there for you. He’s tugging at your heart about it quite a bit, from what I hear.

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