Wisdom

To whoever is reading this: Greetings.

I’m feeling super reflective and pensive at the moment, on the eve of my last day at Thalia Capos. I have a certain weight of emotion on my heart.

It’s a mix of deep joy, deep sadness, and an overall gratitude that weaves through it all like the strings on a tennis racket.

It is deep.

It is real.

It is somewhat surprising.

I’m not a deep feeler in general, I tend to float on top of whatever wave I’m on.

This is different.

I think because it’s big. This is a big change. Going from 3 jobs to 2 so I can start school, this is a big change.

The joy is easy to locate, I’m so happy to be simplifying, so excited to start school, and so anticipating a good change in rhythm for me and my family.

The sadness is easy to find too. I am really going to miss working at Thalia. It is a great company full of great people. I am lucky to have been a part of that community, and I am blessed to be able to call those folks friends. So all you nerds at Thalia, please know that you mean the world to me, and I will miss seeing you every day. I’ll stop by, of course, but it has been so good to share so many hours and jokes with you all.

The gratitude is the easiest to spot, as it really is everywhere. Even in the sadness, I am grateful to know these wonderful people. I am grateful for the opportunity to go to school. I am grateful for the chance to sleep more and work less. I am thankful for the chance to see more of my boys. I am thankful to be able to see more of my girl. I am thankful that through Thalia I was able to order a bucket list guitar (Larrivée Baritone acoustic) at wholesale price. I am thankful that I get to go to Europe with my wife and two dear friends for a week. I am thankful that in July I am basically working 1.5 jobs and will have some actual time to rest and refuel and get ready for the fall. I am thankful that so many people care about me and my family. I am thankful my wife still likes me even though I know she could do much better. I am thankful that my cats don’t scratch up my furniture. I am thankful that for at least the foreseeable future there will be yearly Star Wars movies. I am thankful that I have ever been able to help anyone in any way. I am thankful that I’m able to work in areas that mean something to me. I am thankful that my zucchini plant is growing really well. I am thankful I got to play bocce ball with some friends last week. I’m thankful that even though I’m lactose intolerant, it’s not really that bad and I can eat cheese. I’m thankful that God made His creation taste good. I’m thankful that my boys love Star Wars almost as much as I do. I’m thankful.

I could go on forever. My heart is overflowing with gratitude these days. And I think I’m starting to understand what John Newton meant when he poured his heart into writing the classic song Amazing Grace.

The most amazing thing about any of it is that somehow I am receiving it.

I don’t deserve any of this.

None.

Grace is just a fancy word for gift, and I am learning to see all of this as a gift.

Every breath.

Every meal.

Every hug.

Every laugh with a friend.

Gift.

Grace.

I don’t deserve it.

I’m not saying it in a sort of self-pitying false humility sort of way, as a way of self deprecation; I know I have worked hard, I know that I have value, and I know that I have done things to set up success for me and my family.

But that’s not the point. Can I generate a breath for myself? Can I make a seed grow so that I can eat the delicious zucchini? Can I control my wife to make her the absolute perfect person?

Gift.

Grace.

I don’t deserve it.

There’s a sense of wonder that I’ve been having recently that I should ever be so lucky to be where I am. It has been really working on my heart. I feel lighter, more buoyant, more able to face hard things head on, more able to lean into my sadness and not be afraid that it will break me. Because it might. But I’m still alive.

Gift.

Grace.

I don’t deserve it.

Adding to my wonder is a feeling that there are so many out there that work harder than I do, love people better, have more skills and things to offer, who will never be able to enjoy the success that I have. Just because they were born somewhere else, in a different place, in a different system, and they may go their whole life never tasting a leisurely afternoon. But they still find a way to have joy. Here I am complaining in my head about McDonalds taking too long to take my order. Perspective changes everything; good or bad.

Gift.

Grace.

I don’t deserve it.

So, in my heightened emotional/reflective state, I made a top 10 list of Peter wisdom. Ready? I’m not….

  1. Be thankful. Seriously. We don’t deserve what we have.
  2. Give what you can to whoever you can. Jesus knew what’s up when he said it’s more blessed to give than to receive. Ever give a 5 year old a toy? Who is the winner in that exchange?
  3. Love without expectation. There’s a lot of people who can really drive you nuts. Love them anyway. If by treating them well, they change, you both win. If they don’t, you can have a clear conscience that you did whatever you could.
  4. Life’s short, enjoy the good things. Taste something good? Savor it. Hear a funny joke? Revel in it. Find a beautiful spot? Drink it in. If you’re focused on the petty, annoying, bad, hard stuff, you miss the chance to see the wonder in creation.
  5. Señorita bread is life. Starbread Bakery. Dude. Go there.
  6. You deserve nothing, so anything you get receive with an open hand. Good or bad, let it come and figure out how to make it work for good. Make it the best part of the story.
  7. Stuff is just stuff. Don’t make it your life. That includes guitars (Shocking! I know….) but maybe not Star Wars toys….
  8. Be good to people. People deserve to be treated like people. Dignity isn’t just for losing at a party, you can give a person dignity by the how you treat them. Yes, even that/those person/people.
  9. Be aware of what’s around you. Could be a freaking velociraptor around the corner, and if you ain’t watchin? Fuggetaboutit.
  10. Don’t run away from your feelings Richard! Obvious Tommy Boy reference, but honestly this has been changing my life. Lean into the good and the bad. It is real, and you need to let it affect you either way. Otherwise you miss the potential for transformation.

I’m not at all saying I’m perfect or even good at these (except #5), but I believe them to be true and worth sharing.

So. How are you doing? How can you change your perspective or expectations to make a positive impact on your soul? If you haven’t tried gratitude, I would highly recommend it.

Last thing before I go for now:
God is good. He is on your side. If you are someone who doesn’t believe or hasn’t seriously considered the gospel and why it is good news for you and the world, let’s get coffee. I would love to hear your story and learn how you came to be where you are, and I can tell you my story and we can just know each other better. I promise I won’t try to convert you or make you go to church. I just want to hear your story. If you haven’t seriously considered Christianity, or think it’s a primitive cult where you check your brain at the door, do me a favor and listen to Tim Keller. Specifically, this: Losing My Religion It’s a call for Christians to listen to the critiques of religion because Jesus was the most anti-religious person in history. It’s worth a listen no matter what you believe.

Thanks for bearing with my sappy transitional angst post. Here’s a joke:

Why couldn’t the man find his map?

Because he lost his map.

2 thoughts on “Wisdom

  1. Dear Peter, Your message touched my soul. I love you & have always thought the world of you & Paola! I intend to copy your message & read it often. You are 100% correct. I can see God is really working in your life, & that makes me happy. We are doing well & really love our new church. That is our good news. It was the right move for us Peter. I have told many, I hope nothing but the best for Edgewater. I know that is what God wants too. Please tell me what you are going to school for Peter, & where. I went back to college at your age & felt like a sponge, just soaking it all in. I loved learning & it gave me my RN. I know you will do well. An aside, I just saw the Starbread Bakery the other day, will have to try it~~~along that note, you need to try the Remnant Burger in that same shopping center. Run by a Christian & has the best burgers we have had in ages. Not open on Sundays due to his beliefs! Love you Peter Gothold!!! Susan & Al

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