Moving Forward

I remember the day we lost Gabriel.  It still upsets me. The loss of a loved one is always upsetting, even when that loved one is a beloved pet. But we need to keep moving forward. Life does not stop and we continue to believe that tomorrow will be much better. We are Moving Forward each day.

Yesterday we had our first snow storm in Bismarck, ND. We got somewhere around 10 inches of snow. No wind yet but it is forecasted for today. The winters in ND are going to be much different than in Charleston, SC. Actually as we all know, there is no comparison. Yet, today I will go and take the snow and ice off of my truck in preparation for driving into work tomorrow. They are forecasting a high of 11 degrees tomorrow. Should be a fun day for everyone trying to get accustom to the presentation of this early winter. After this early snow I am sure a majority of people are moving forward, looking for the time when the weather is warmer; snow has changed to rain and the grass starts growing. As I look out the window at the sun shining on the trees full of ice and the glimmer that is cast off the limbs I am not sure I really want winter to end. I guess I missed the point about me being inside where I am warm and protected from the elements. Yet, it is really beautiful.

This week was full of surprises. First I heard from someone who I have not heard from in months. While their news was not what I expected I saw a presence of grace in this old friend. They too were moving forward toward a better life. I saw strength and conviction in knowing what was going to be and not what was in the past. Paying close attention to the heart is often the best practice. I have tried to tell others for many years that, “What the heart knows and the head will not admit is a lost truth.” Some have listened while others have decided that I really do not know what I am talking about. I have always been someone who cherished the friendships more than anything in this world. I have discovered that without long term friendships we are lost to the past. The past has impacted our lives and is what enables us to make decisions about tomorrow. It is about moving forward and discovering where we were that helps us understand who, what and why we are what we want to be tomorrow.

I always thought I would be singing and acting my whole life. I discovered that while this never happened, it gave me a feeling or ability to understand that I could do anything. Standing on that stage, singing and playing the part of someone else gave me courage to keep moving forward, even when I failed. I think the same is true for my friend. With their strengths they had came back to life and made a change in the outcomes. Their first choice was to contact a friend. This old friend took a chance and reached out to someone who gave them an opportunity to be exactly who they were in the past. Asking but one thing, look to your heart and you will find the answers.

My second surprise this week was to return to the birthplace of my youngest son in Fargo, ND. I talked with a couple people that actually remembered when I worked at Dayton’s. Dayton’s is gone now and the town does not even look the same after 35 years. The Dakota Clinic and Hospital is now owned by a company called Sanford Medical. While the name changed my memories did not. I remember looking through the observation window at his little “blue” body at the back of the nursery. He was born with the cord around his neck. It was a very scary time. Today he is married and has his own family.

One day soon I will make another trip to Fargo and have lunch with one of my oldest and dearest friends and his wife. We all worked together at Dayton’s and yes we all moved forward to other lives and experiences. He was always there for me when I needed him. That included the times that were not so good. I have not seen him or his wife in almost 30 years and I know the only difference is a touch of gray hair. I can still hear his laugh and his crazy humorous side that often helped me over some very tough times. I am sure he remembers when Arnie got stuck in the mud during our goose hunting trip. I still laugh of the image with the rope around Arnie’s waste and pulling him out of the mud…

Remembering who we were often helps us understand who we have become. That is true for everyone, including me. Through it all we seem to make it through God’s grace. Moving forward is not about a journey that is filled with pleasant experiences. It would be great if it was that simple. It is more about the challenges in the journey that makes us stronger. If it was easy we would not learn much about ourselves or how we impact the lives of others. I figured out when I was 40 that my time on earth needed to be spent helping others grow and develop. Some might consider this to be a slow learner. I consider it part of my journey. I have always known that I had a purpose in life. I was just not sure what it was. When I figured it out I started making decisions related to the end product and giving support to my passion. Have I reached the end of the journey? NO!! I think I may be just starting, again.

Find your own pathway and journey forward….It is worth it. Find the purpose in your passion. Move Forward………………………………….

Jim received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in Human Resource Development and has over 40 years of management experience in 5 different industries. He has consulted for Raytheon, Century 21 and Motorola. He retired in 2005 as the Sr. VP, Human Resources for Trident Health System (an HCA facility). His specialty is talent-based organizational development. Jim has recently accepted a position with Shorter University as the Associate Vice President for Online and Professional Education. Shorter University's primary campus is located in Rome, Georgia. His role will include the strategic management of online programs for the university to include the College of Adult and Professional Programs located in Rome and Atlanta. Dr. Jones is looking forward to helping change the lives of those he touches every day in the pursuit of excellence in adult education. This includes students, faculty and staff.