I have a big problem.
Literally, a “big” problem. Whenever I take on a new project, I want it to be the biggest and the best. There will be no penny unaccounted for and no stone left unturned, unpolished, and unperfected under my watch. If it has Ky Sisson attached to it, it’s gotta be loud, proud, and undeniable. “That’s a good thing,” some would say. “You have big dreams and like to work hard!” But I say, “That’s a dude with a big head.”
I’ll give you a quick example to set the scene. When I decided to leave a life-long dream of a career in television news, it wasn’t because I hit a ceiling or didn’t like my boss, it was because I got big headed. I started to not like how I was acting…How I always judged others in the business and how I felt I needed to be praised for my talent.
I didn’t like myself.
I knew I needed a big change. God said, “Hey dude, knock it off” a few different times and luckily didn’t leave me hanging! I have been more stunned by how big our God is in what I do now than ever before.
There is seriously something special about simple.
My life was turned upside down when I took on the family business of caring for the elderly. It’s an amazing opportunity to be with people in the last stages of life. I want to share the beauty and wisdom of this vulnerable and often forgotten group of society with everyone! They are just too cool to keep to myself!
Dan is 92 years old. He was born in 1927 and served in the Merchant Marines during World War II. Think about Dan in light of this…He’s lived through the Great Depression, the rise and fall of the Nazis, dozen-or-so wars, mankind’s landing on the moon, segregation, and The Beatles (he’s lucky with that one)! This man has seen an entire generation and then some.
I brought along some friends from our Rooted group to meet him. He has been declining and is on hospice. He can no longer walk and his confusion is blatant. We were welcomed into his home by his healthy and spunky wife, Jeanette. On this particular day, Jeanette warned us that he was having a bad day. A “bad day” to a person this progressed on hospice usually means ready to die.
I walked into his bedroom as the group cautiously followed. Many have never done anything like this before. Dan was lying in bed asleep with his head back looking very uncomfortable. His cheeks were caving in and his breathing was slow…The telltale sign that the end is near.
“Good morning Dan,” I said in a louder-than-usual voice because, well, most old people can’t hear anymore! I always raise my voice a decibel or two just in case.
His eyes opened and he returned the greeting with a similar loud voice, “Hello there!”
He started to sit up as he saw all of us come into his room. We told him we were going to take him for a walk, or in his case, a spin in the wheelchair.
“Oh, really? I would like that! Where are we going?”
“Around the block,” we said.
I can honestly say I’ve never seen a 92-year-old move this quickly and with such enthusiasm. Every professional observation I made in the first 30-seconds of being with Dan was debunked.
Why? I think because we were simply there.
We took him around the neighborhood. Neighbors stopped to shake his hand and thank him for his service to our country. He told us about the Merchant Marines and how he served in China. He oozed over how beautiful the day was and how he loved his old southwest Reno community. I think my favorite story was how he met the love of his life delivering bread.
My buddy Jordan told Dan some very simple jokes.
“Why do monkeys like bananas?”
“Because they have appeal.”
Dan’s laugh was infectious. His joy was apparent. The reality that was coming soon…forgotten.
Each time I see how big, simple acts of love can be, that big head of mine deflates a little bit more. Because, well, I don’t need to change the world. Jesus has already done that.
I think we just need to take small jabs at our egos day-by-day realizing loving like Jesus can be severely simple.