I have two friends with whom I hunt with each year. I met one (Lane) in college, and the other (Russel) I met though Lane, while in college. Since college we have hunted together every year, once a year.
Though I am close to both of them, Lane and Russell were childhood friends with each other in the Dallas area, attending both church and grade school together. Both are married and each have a daughter, and those daughters are about the same age. Many Fridays, Lane and Russell have dinner together with their wives.
They are both men’s men. In many ways they represent to me all the good things about men: they are strong, reliable, honest, loyal, and trustworthy. And they are there when needed.
The last couple of years have been challenging. I had a fall on a rappelling trip that was a near-death experience; Lane was diagnosed with Parkinson’s; and Russell had a significant automobile accident that resulted in surgery on his neck.
Russell’s neck surgery turned out to be more than any of us expected, though it appears to have turned out OK. However, something interesting happened afterward.
Lane called me one night after Russell’s surgery. He asked that I call Russell; that he, Lane, was concerned about Russell. I could tell the real, heartfelt worry and fear in Lane’s voice. He was shaken.
So I called Russell. Though groggy from medication, Russell assured me he was OK, but he did not want to talk about that; he wanted to talk about Lane. He said he was worried about Lane, and wondered what we were going to do. He asked me questions about Parkinson’s, and where I thought Lane was. We talked for a while. Russell was shaken.
When I got off the phone with both Lane and Russell, several things struck me. They were really worried about each other, and they could not completely express it to each other. They truly love each other, as close brothers, and know they would be lost without the other. We all realize that life is very fragile, that stuff happens, and our moments together are being used up.
My lessons from this are multiple: Tell those you love that you love them, but also have someone in your life that can tell you what you need to hear.
In my practice, sometimes we get charged with saying things to a client that their family members will not say: please do not drive; you need help in the home; you need to get planning done while you have the ability to do it. It is important that my clients trust me enough to believe that I am giving good, unbiased advice.
I feel like I can trust Lane and Russell to have those hard conversations with me; that when I am failing, or if they are concerned, they will feel free to say so. One thing I do know is that they will say it out of love for me.
Be sure you have someone in your life that you trust to have those conversations with.
Randy Clinkscales is a 1980 graduate of Washburn Law School.