What is Life?

By Harvey Hook

“Life is a little bit of time and a lot of relationship.”

-Papa, The Shack

This blog is posted with a little bit of apprehension. I attempted to put myself in your place, wondering what your response might be to the title:

  • “Hey Harvey, nothing new under the sun–get a new title.”
  • “I’ll pass; I’ve already read 57 books on the meaning of life!”

I wrote it because I could not, not write it. I attended last night’s movie premiere of The Shack. I read the book in 2009 and discovered it held profound insights into life. As a result, we brought the author, Paul Young, to Columbus in 2010 and then again in 2011, to keynote two of our major events.

So, what was spoken in these words, “Life is a little bit of time and a lot of relationship,” that caught my attention? I was captured by its simplicity.

Papa, aka God the Father, appearing as a black woman portrayed by Octavia Spencer, speaks this truth to Mackenzie as he struggles with the death of his daughter Missy. Papa journeys with Mackenzie though his pain and anger, ultimately guiding him to the freedom he discovers in forgiving God, himself, and the man who took his youngest child.

Life is a little bit of time: Yesterday I was 9 years old, running barefoot through the stream on Willow Lane Road; today, I’m 64 years old, married for 35 years, and have two grandsons!  I understand life is lived fully in each moment we have and not in straining towards what we anticipate or withdrawing in fear from whatever may be next. By doing so, we are free to not read the “top 5 things you need to know to become…,” or, the “7 steps to achieve…”

Life is a lot of relationship: If I were to sit down with you and fully share the extent of my relationships with others and the many stories around each, it would take the rest of my life to do so.  It is in the richness and depths of relationships where life is lived, has meaning, and is fulfilled.  And there can be no relationship unless it is tied to individual moments lived in connection with others.  Not all those relationships and stories generate positive memories, but each is a part of my life, and each contributed to the person I am today. And thus, the nod to relationship as superior to time.

And for those of us who live with some fear of the future, which hinders us from living as fully present individuals, let me share a second movie quote with you. This is spoken by Jesus to Mackenzie:

“In your fear, you imagine a future without me, and that future does not exist.”  That certainly can change how you and I live here and now.

If you are unfamiliar with the movie, you can click here to see the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CL0yUbSS5Eg

We have just created a monthly forum in which people gather to collaboratively discuss matters of life, work, faith, family, and culture.  It’s called the Rela Collective, and I invite you to join the conversation at your first opportunity.  We hold them monthly over free coffee and breakfast at the Nationwide Conference Center in Lewis Center. Our next Collective is Wednesday, March 8th, 8 – 9:15am.

For additional information and to register click here: https://relaleadership.com/programs/rela-collective/

Until Next Time,























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