The following is an excerpt from my book, “Harbor Seven.” I told this story at a RHYTHYMinTWENTY event we just launched in Frisco, Colorado last week. Life can be crazy, and in the fast pace and culture in which we live, it is really tough to live with a good rhythm through all that comes at us. Sometimes, it can be the really simple things that remind us of our priorities. Sometimes it is the little things that can make all the difference. If my dad were alive, he would be shocked to hear me tell this story, let alone to know that it had such impact on me. Yet through this simple memory, he taught me how to keep family a priority even when other demands pressed in on him. So let me tell you more about what happened when it rained…
Throughout my life, I never doubted that family was an absolute priority to my dad. He was always there for us. Even in his busy times at work, he was available. I always knew that he would stop what he was doing if I needed him, whether he was in the middle of harvest or in the middle of a football game.
Without a doubt, family was a priority to him, but he didn’t limit his focus there. He still had time to run a successful farm and invest deeply in friendships with several other men, a rarity for his generation and occupation. Part of the secret in keeping his life in balance was that he knew the importance of focusing on different parts of life at certain times. Solomon really addressed this principle in Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 4. It’s one of the great pictures in the Bible on how to live life with a sense of rhythm. He wrote, “There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven…a time to plant and a time to uproot…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” And, as I learned from my dad, there is also a time to fish.
The plains of Nebraska, the location of my father’s farm, can be arid and dry. The crops almost always require irrigation, a very time-consuming task. My dad told me that whenever there was an inch or more of rain, he could slow down the irrigation wells and take time to go fishing. Over the years, I made many laps out to the rain gauge to see if an inch had fallen. Do you see what he taught me here? Without saying a word, he taught me that there is a time to work and a time to play; a time to be focused on goals and a time to enjoy moments with your family. By his actions, he demonstrated that I wasn’t the only thing, but I was important. Even today, because of his single illustration of what it means to live a life that’s balanced, I still feel a sense of excitement and my heart still races when a thunderstorm passes.