From a distance, with perspective, it can be much easier assessing the strength and usefulness of the foundations we build. In the last decade I have built or helped construct several organizations with, in hindsight, weak foundations. I knew there were weaknesses at the time, but the goal was important. I understood the gaps yet thought the destination would help us address them in time. I ran on what I built and, in the end, the weaknesses came back to forever haunt me.
It wasn’t that we didn’t achieve great things in each endeavor, we did. It wasn’t that we were ignorant, even though I was occasionally na?ve. It wasn’t as if promises were kept, words didn’t seem to mean the same to others as they did to our team.
I look and see there is “no more boisterous laughter in the orchards, no more hearty work songs in the vineyards. Instead of the bustle and sound of good work in the fields, silence—deathly and deadening silence. My heartstrings throb like harp strings for Moab, my soul in sympathy for sad Kir-heres. When Moab trudges to the shrine to pray, he wastes both time and energy. Going to the sanctuary and praying for relief is useless. Nothing ever happens.” (Isaiah 16.10, 11, 12)
I don’t look at the past with a sense of loss or sadness. There were and are so many things to admire and find joy in; great teamwork, awesome acts of kindness, and extraordinary achievements. The results were, by any measure, incredible! Yet the foundation we used had its flaws and we can learn.
There are two takeaways I hold close to my heart. First, look at the present with “truth”. It may be ugly, painful, or puzzling; yet truth is the key to foundations. Second, always “be” in your values and priorities. Don’t run ahead. Don’t get lost. Don’t loose touch with your “true” foundations. One always needs help with the second; make sure you are in a relationship of accountability with someone familiar and knowledgeable.
Life is for living smart.
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