Gratitude Celebration 10: Noble Heart

“Noble” is how I describe my brother, Mike, who I celebrate today in my Gratitude Celebration series. I’m celebrating my 60th birthday with 60 days of gratitude for people in my life. Enjoy! And please add your comments!

Today, I want to thank my brother, Mike. He’s three years younger than I am, but I look up to him for his courage out in the wide world.  Mike’s world is completely foreign to me! He had a career as a naval officer, living on those floating cities of aircraft carriers. I have only laid eyes on one, and that was when my brother Tom took me to the naval yard near San Diego right before my hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. The size of the ship astonished me, as I struggled to imagine a seaman’s lifestyle. I’m pretty content walking on the firm earth of hiking trails. And that’s as close as I’ve come to understanding Mike’s way of life. But, I’m still fascinated by it!

I have great respect for the courage Mike had to pursue his dream of the sea, whether to move TOWARD something or AWAY.  It’s only been in the past couple of years that I’ve been fortunate to get to have some conversations with Mike exploring our personal views, beliefs, and life journeys.  What a wonderful new phase it’s been. I am deeply grateful for Mike’s respect for my views while standing for his own. Someone who is willing to say, “Frankly, Regina, I don’t see it that way, but I can see how that works for you, and I’m willing to consider that view,” is a breath of fresh air.  The irony here is that I’m not sure others have the same experience with Mike.

Here’s what I’m making of this. I think my brother is mirroring my own willingness to respect the views of others while standing for – and sharing my own. You see, in the past I have been invisibly keeping my way of looking at the world to myself, silently detaching myself from conversations that are fueled by opinions and personal perspectives.  My reason was that I didn’t respect myself and my opinions, especially ones that differed from the arguments on the table.  As I have gained more experience in the power of authentic sharing and with acting on my passionate calling to walk long trails, my courage to share what I’m thinking has increased.  The more I’m being true to what really lights me up,  and taking responsibility to do the work that I’ve always wanted to do but was afraid to pursue, the more authentic I feel. And the world is answering me back with respect. Well, Mike was giving me that all along, even before I had it for myself!

I’m grateful to have begun having conversations of the heart more and more with Mike, especially as several traumatic events have occurred within our family. Being able to open our hearts to each other has been a blessing that I appreciate more every day.

I am also grateful for my brother Mike’s golden tongue and trustworthy influence in helping my son Adam get his first job. Mike, without complete assurance that his reputation would stand, introduced Adam to his acquaintances at a software engineering firm.  They hired him based on Mike’s recommendation.  Adam exceeded everyone’s expectations and now stands on his own reputation, but Mike helped him get his foot in the door.  Thanks, Mike, for seeing beyond Adam’s experience to his potential and his character and being willing to boost him up!

I have always admired Mike for leading with his heart and for his willingness to take a stand for the truth, even when his view is not understood or supported by others. This virtue has been called upon at least twice that I know, once, when his son was killed in a bizarre car wreck and just recently when our youngest brother died.  In both of those heart-wrenching losses, Mike has been the one to take a stand for an unpopular position and view. Although wounded to his core, he has maintained what he thinks is right. To me, that’s what it is to be noble.

Who do you know who leads with their heart?


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