Last week, I attended the memorial service of Jean Rainwater, the mother of my dear friend Alicia. Jean left a legacy that gave many many people reason to mourn, and reason to celebrate. While she lost her battle with pancreatic cancer, she gave us a plan for winning in life.
Jean was (and is) a special person. It wouldn't take much time around her to realize this. She was kind. She was happy. She was honest. She was present. In today's world where conversations are stifled with email alerts and texts and sports updates and photos and facebook messages - when you meet someone who is fully present with you, it stands out. It reminds us just how we deeply value attention. We trust those rare people who truly give us theirs. We feel safe with those people. We feel a bit uncomfortable with those people.
Jean was a master of her attention, and she encouraged others to re-think their attention choices. She asked that we join her in putting on 'God glasses.' With these powerful glasses, you could imagine a world in which God loved you, God was for you, and God was in control. Then, we were to live in that world.
Jean was doing is something that attention research reaffirms. Intentional choices on where you place your attention will profoundly shape who you are and who you are becoming. You can see people and things as enemies, the world against you, your experiences as negative. Or, you can put on your God glasses. You have that choice. Research (Nobel Prize Winner Daniel Kahneman among others) will tell you that those who make choices like Jean will have a larger network, more success, quicker rebounds from adversity, and more overall happiness. If Jean could do it as she battled pancreatic cancer, what's our excuse?
So, in honor of Jean, I will be wearing my God glasses today, and encourage you too as well.