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10 Lessons from a Life Well-Lived

January 19, 2021

Have you ever had a terrible week?

Last week was one of those for me. I know many friends who are sick and hurting. The COVID surge has begun to affect our office. And last week was marked by the passing of two people I care a lot about.

The first one was terribly tragic. Shauna D’Agostino, a 42-year-old wife and mother of two was killed in a car accident. I grew up in church with Shauna, she would babysit me, and we love her and her family.

Two days after that, the man who was basically my grandfather, Andy Smith, passed away. I say basically because it wasn’t by blood, but since my grandfather passed away when I was five, Andy and his wife Carolyn have been grandparents to me. Andy was 86 and lived a great life. 

On Friday, I shared at his funeral 10 lessons I learned from his example. After that service, I decided to totally rewrite this week’s blog because these are lessons we all need to hear.

So, here you go. Ten of the greatest things I learned from Andy Smith:

1. Life’s too short not to have fun. Some of you need to read that again.

2. Take the trip. While we shouldn’t spend frivolously, we need to remember that we can’t take things with us. When you have an opportunity for an experience or a trip with people you care about, take the trip.

3. Generosity is not something you do, it’s who you are. What we have been blessed with in life is not to increase our standard of living, but our standard of giving.

4. You can love the past without living in it. It’s fine to reminisce and enjoy the good old days, but don’t get stuck there. We must move forward.

5. Say what’s on your mind. Admittedly I don’t always do this well, but Andy was willing to tell us what we needed to hear even if we didn’t want to hear it.

6. Be loyal in the good times and bad times. Loyalty doesn’t waver based on circumstances.

7. Fall in love, stay in love. Andy and his wife Carolyn were married for more than 59 years. Love is a choice, and one we should keep making.

8. Put your family first. When you come to the end of life, no one cares about your job or the things you’ve acquired. If family matters most then, it should matter most now.

9. Friends are the family you choose. Right after family, it’s so important to have good friends. Invest in the relationships now and those just might be your friends for life.

10. Put your faith in Jesus. I often talk about faith in a broad sense in this blog. I want to be aware that readers are coming from many different places. However, Andy’s faith wasn’t generic—it was specific, and it was rooted in a relationship with Jesus.

There’s an old song that says,

“Thank you for giving to the Lord, for I am a life that was changed. Thank you for giving to the Lord, I am so glad you gave.”

Andy changed my life, and I’m forever grateful for the time I had with him. We’d all be so fortunate to have a life as impactful as his.

I challenge you to take these lessons to heart this week and work to put them into practice in your own life.


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