My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Job 42:5

By Gary Bottoms, CLU, CHFC 

Chief Executive Officer

Being in a precarious place, one misstep away from catastrophic failure…looking into dense fog. That’s what I thought about when I noticed the squirrel in the photograph as I sat on my screen porch one morning. The squirrel is about four stories high at this point and seems to be pondering something serious. In all his movements, I didn’t sense any anxiety. I saw confidence – it was amazing. He was created to do this.

We humans are carefully created to think on a higher level than animals. We were created in God’s image, to rule over all the earth itself and every creature that crawls upon it (Genesis 1:26).

One of my favorite songs, “The Older I Get”, is by Alan Jackson and the point is we think more as we get older. A recent high school reunion gave me cause to think when I saw a display of many of my former classmate’s faces who are now deceased. Personally, I believe the only value of examining the past is to learn from it – what worked and what didn’t work. I’ve changed a lot since I last saw many of my classmates decades ago. I’ve had my share of precarious places, failure and looking into dense fog. I even told a couple of the guys I loved them. It’s okay to do that. 

Recently one of my older friends hosted a birthday luncheon for himself. He said don’t bring any presents – he just wanted to have lunch with his friends on his birthday. As we began to have lunch, he rose from his seat and expressed that it was his birthday wish to look us in the eye and tell us he loved us. He then told some stories about his life, and we were inspired by the experience. Loving others and expressing it enriches the giver as well as the recipient. That’s the way our creator made us – you are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).

I know a father who recently gathered his adult children around a dinner table for a family meeting. He acknowledged he was the oldest person in the room and although quite healthy wanted to express from his heart some matters of importance while he had the opportunity to do so. He asked for “blanket” forgiveness. Forgiveness for both known and unknown scars he may have inflicted upon his children. He said whatever happened was due to his own ignorance or exhaustion and never because of a lack of love. Love was transparently expressed, and forgiveness and grace were offered and accepted.  

Our creator hardwired us with the ability to understand that love, forgiveness, and grace are gifts that can’t be taken, or even purchased. And, when these gifts are offered, like any other gift, the value can only be ours if we reach out and accept it. It’s a decision. It’s a priceless heart gift, not a material gift and it can’t be stolen.  

In my life, it’s taken the precarious positions I’ve been in, along with the failures I’ve had and the dense fog that I’ve sometimes experienced to see God’s hand on my life. This is what life does to us if we are paying attention. Giving love, forgiveness and grace enriches the giver as well as the recipient. We were created that way.

When I was nine years old, I asked Jesus into my heart as my mother knelt beside me. I had childlike faith, and it was real, but there was little growth for almost 20 years. This period of inertia was my loss. The longer I live the more I think and the more I see the wisdom of wanting God’s plan for my life, not mine, as I envision the future. 

A strong positive vision has a way of pulling us forward. Now, even when I’m in a fog I can see with my heart His love and grace. This gives me hope, and when hope is alive, we have a spiritual lifeline, and can take another step as our vision beyond the fog becomes clearer.

Your Creator made you intricately and loves you, and so do I.

Our corporate calling of helping others, along with our embedded employee benefit and life insurance specialties, intersects with our client’s desire for ongoing financial security and protection.

Gary Bottoms, CLU, CHFC

Chief Executive Officer


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