A Re-markable Pair of Letters

A few years ago, a creative graphic designer fashioned the logo I use (displayed in the header of my website) to represent my speaking career. I was amazed he found my first two initials, R & E, in my last name, and then stunned to realize that my initials, used as the prefix “re,” transform many common words whenever we are attempting to do something again, perhaps in a new way: retry, reattempt, or rebuild.

There are more than four thousand words that begin with those two humble characters. Here are a few that can change lives.

Readdress – It is not the mistakes I make that determine my character, it is how I respond to my errant ways; how I redress and repair damage left in my wake.

Realign – In moments when I recognize I may be walking a wayward path, I need to slow down, remember the values I profess, reclaim them, and realign my priorities.

Retry – Mary Anne Radmacher once wrote “Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‘I will try again tomorrow’.”

Rebalance – When life feels out of control, I must find the strength to take a step back, reflect, rearrange my priorities, and regain balance.

RebuildRelationships are too often torn asunder by selfish and careless acts, even if unintended. I must remind myself it is never too late to rectify errors, reestablish important connections, and return wholeness to the tribes and communities of which I am a part.

Reclaim – Whenever I speak to seniors about the wisdom they hold, I remind them of their importance to future generations. After one such engagement an elder looked at me and said, “At my age, I often feel it may be time for me to go. But listening to you, I remember I am the matriarch of this family, and it is time for me to reassume that role.”

Redefine – When my children completed their educational pursuits, I came to discover, that while I will always be their father, I had to be in relationship with them in wholly new ways.

Reembrace – We are often admonished to stop and smell the flowers. Beauty is everywhere I look if I allow myself to see it. I simply need to reexamine, refocus, and reimagine where I am at every moment.

Reframe – I once heard it said the nonsense is only nonsense until you find the perspective from which it makes sense. Perhaps I need to recall this whenever I face anything my mind tells me is nonsense.

Renew – Little benefit derives from spending precious moments regretting my mistakes and missteps of yesterday. Today gives me one more opportunity to reimagine the possibilities of the day, refresh my priorities, and reignite my passions for what the day might hold.

Respect – The root of respect is the same as inspect and means to look. When we inspect, we look into. I most respect others when I am willing to look again even in moments we disagree.

Repay – When I asked a friend recently how he was, he said simply, “I am more blessed than I deserve.” I want, every day, to pay the world back for the untold blessings I have been given.

Replenish – Nature observes many periods of quiet during which flora and fauna refresh and refuel. Perhaps the same is true for me.

Resolve – Whenever I fear being wrong, or am embarrassed when I am, I try to bear in mind Kathryn Schulz’s inspiring words: “As far as we know, then, error is uniquely ours. Our fallibility is what keeps us suspended between the kingdom of lesser animals and the kingdom of God.”

Rethink – I don’t know who first said this, but I use this quote often, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

Repack – Richard Leider and David Shapiro wrote a book called “Repacking Your Bags,” in which they ask if we have the work, relationships, and wisdom we need to take us where we wish to go with our lives, or are we burdened by many things we should jettison.

If I remember these humble letters that reside in my name, and fight to keep these ideas in my life, goodness, joy, and beauty will always be abundant.

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