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Walk with Jim

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Good morning, everybody. It’s April 11, 2021. On this day, 19 years ago, my beautiful wife was driven to the Missouri Baptist Hospital by me, and she gave birth to our first and amazing son, [Ismael 00:00:17]. So shout out to Is on his 19th birthday. I’m reading a great book. It’s called Meditation in Action. I love that title. Is that a great title or what? In the book, Chogyam Trungpa talks about getting in touch with the parts of ourselves that we view as failures, or as he puts it, the manure of our past. And how we try to recycle our manure or to sell it, to get rid of it instead of looking through it, to find the gold, to find the nuggets, the insights that we can gain from our failures. I’m listening to the book on audio, and when I finished the chapter, I switched to the Mission soundtrack, which a movie that had a great impact on me.

It was one of the things that led me to want to become a Jesuit priest. And in listening to the book and then listening to the music, I was struck by the fact that I’ve always viewed my having left the Jesuits as a failure of some sort. I thought I was going to go do great things. I was going to help people. I was going to save the world. I left after about six months because I wasn’t healthy. I wasn’t happy. And I wasn’t living my best life by any stretch of the imagination. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to help anybody until I helped myself first.

But I know I made the right decision to leave. But I’ve still always in the back of my mind, viewed that as a failure. And in listening to the music of the Mission and remembering why I wanted to become a priest in the first place, it dawned on me that what I wanted was to help people. To help people heal, and to help people live their best lives, to build a community of people who wanted great things in their lives. It further dawned on me that I’ve done that, just not within the confines of the Catholic church.

I started a movement with our immigration clients. We’re helping hundreds of immigrants every day build their lives in the United States. I’ve built a family where I get to share my life and my love with a beautiful wife and four kids, plus my family of origin. And I’ve built a tribe of warriors who want to maximize their lives and to build the law practices of their dreams. So, even though I’m not doing it from a pulpit, I am still living a life of generosity of sharing, and I wouldn’t have made that insight if I hadn’t looked in that dark place if the book hadn’t called me to scrutinize my own manure and to see what it can reveal to me today.

And of course, it’s very obvious, but if I hadn’t left, it wouldn’t have been Ismael’s 19th birthday today, and my life would have been very, very, poorer and very, very different. So you might think about listening to that book again. It’s called Meditation in Action. And more importantly, you might think about looking at the parts of your past that you might carry shame with or self-loathing or sadness. And to look at it honestly and fairly, recognizing that you did the best that you could and that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be today, on April the 11th, 2021. Thanks a lot, everybody. Have a great day.

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