No, I haven’t become a Financial Adviser in my spare time. And no, I’m not actually talking about financial investments. Given all the volatility in the market during this global pandemic, I’ve sworn off even thinking about my financial investments, let alone checking on them. I’ve also become ever more aware of how fortunate I am to even have financial investments about which to be concerned.
“Life is good and we are blessed.”~Erin Marie McG
But for now, let’s set aside thoughts of actual money and turn our thoughts toward other investments.
Hi, I’m Erin…
I recently received the news that a dear friend, Erin, has passed away. She was one of those people you may not see often, but when you do, you fall right back into step, without missing a beat. I met her through Habitat for Humanity, where I’m sure her first words were “Hi, I’m Erin….”. You see, she taught me about welcoming outsiders in. I witnessed her say that phrase over and over again (on job sites…at the softball field…at social gatherings) where she always went out of her way to welcome in new people. She must’ve learned early in life that it’s not fun to sit on the outside of a well-formed group. So, she was intentional to never let that happen in her presence. If you were new to the group, she wanted you IN the group.
She listened….truly listened. She paid attention to what people were talking about in a unique way. It was like she was listening with the purpose of figuring out how she could brighten your day at later point in time. So many people tell the same story: they had forgotten they even shared some detail with her but just when they least expected it, she would show up, bearing the gifts that were exactly what was needed. It could be something as simple as nightlights for your kids who were having trouble adjusting to their new home, a starbuck’s run to support builders, even when she couldn’t be with us building. Or it could be something as big as an expensive new tool to make the build site experience go smoother. She looked out for those she cared about. She was the best aunt to the nieces and nephews born into her family…and to the bonus ones she collected along the way.
She always, and I mean ALWAYS, had a smile on her face. Often accompanied with giggles. You can see it in every picture I have of her…smiles, giggles, LIG hat and t-shirt, surrounded by people she loved. Sharing her light. Teaching us to love the simple things like full moons and time with family and friends. To find the funny things to keep it all a little lighter. To support each other, to be kind to one another, to be a helper. To enjoy life. To learn new things and appreciate the arts. So many great lessons.
My friend, Nina, captured it well when she said “she didn’t invest in bullshit.” You wouldn’t find her caught up in drama, or spreading negativity, or ever doing anything intentionally hurtful or mean. Erin only invested in things that mattered. She only invested in things that would make this world a better place.
Side note: Erin would not appreciate us using that language to capture her essence. I can imagine her shaking her head just a little bit, softening her smile just a little bit, and giving me that look that says “you can find another way to say that without cursing, can’t you?” If you can imagine, there is sometimes cursing on a job site (even at Habitat, sorry to burst your bubble), and Erin really wanted us to realize we didn’t need that. That we could do better.
The world needs more Erins.
As I think about how to honor all of Erin’s lessons, I wonder how I can carry on the very important work that piloted her life. I’m checking in on my investments. What am I investing in? Where am I investing in BS that I can release? How will I carry on her lessons? How will I carry Erin with me as I move forward. My friend Kerry has taught me that one of the most beautiful ways to honor a ‘lost’ loved one is to make sure we carry them with us. That we don’t lose the lessons. Those gifts are never lost.
In these uncertain times, it is hard to think in terms of moving forward. It feels too uncertain to even make any plans. And yet, it also feels like I must make new plans…to take advantage of this unique place in time. We have an opportunity to evaluate our investments in a way we’ve never had before. Or at least, in a way we’ve never recognized we had before (it’s probably always been there). And I remind myself that the plans I make don’t have to be long-term….they can be just for today.
And just as it happens sometimes, my dear friend Summer Cushman dropped a sermon on me that speaks to this. You’re invited to listen: Let’s Not Go Back To Normal.
As we look forward to creating our new normal, the invitation is to check your investments. Even if you only “look forward” to the next moment of today. What are you investing in?