This past Spring I met my brother and sister in Chicago to clear out my dad's apartment. Piles and shelves of books everywhere. File cabinets lining the walls full of folders and papers. A folder full of letters he wrote to me and never sent. There where file drawers dedicated to a couple of books that he'd spent the past few decades talking about, but never completed. Folders for a board game he'd always said he was inventing. Old photos of a time 40 or so years ago when he had a life. These were things that he couldn't imagine parting with. Things that really defined his life for the past few decades. (In fact, he called us a few times during the 2 days we were there crying, and I felt so sad for him.) But almost none of it mattered. It was all sent to the dump. I stood there in that apartment looking at a lifetime of accumulating stuff that didn't matter. Depressing.
See, my dad started out pretty well. Opened up a school in the inner city of Chicago in the 1950s to teach kids who weren't getting an education. Then started a church. And then he threw it all away. (I'll spare you the details.) He spent the last 1/2 of his life in isolation, apart from his family, in a subsidized apartment, talking about things that he would never do.
I walked away from that experience reflecting on the tragedy of an unlived life. And I thought to myself, "I don't want to live my life that way. I don't want to miss what my life is for. I want to show up."
As we head into the fall of 2012, and another exciting season of life together, we want to kick it off talking about something that, for me, comes directly out of that experience. We're calling it: "How to Show Up for Your Life." I hope you can join us.