8 Things I Know For Sure / by Louis Holstein

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In no particular order.

1. My wife loves me. It’s hard to know for sure about emotions or feelings, but I know that my wife loves me because my wife chooses to stay with me every day. I am far from perfect and in my mess, she still says, "I do," that is love.

2. Marriage is hard. I had read a lot on marriage but nothing could prepare me for actually being married. I often say marriage is an instrument of death. One spouse chooses to submit to the other for the sake of compromise, happiness, and serenity. Yet regardless of the benefits of submitting, it is rarely an easy or fun task. Selflessness is hard.

3. Friends come and go but family is forever. Over the past 27 years, I have called different people "friend." The vast majority of those people are now gone but those that are family are still very present. This was a hard lesson to learn and a large pill to swallow because I love people. Yet the quicker I learned that friends come and go, the quicker I was able to embrace them for the season of life that I was in. Sometimes those people get promoted from friend to family but I don’t know exactly when that happens. I’ll let you know when I find out.

4. People are kind. People are mean. People are afraid. Perhaps these three statements should be three categories on their own, but I decided to lump them together because at times everyone is found in each one- sometimes two at the same time. With the understanding that people fall in and out of these categories, I am able to extend grace. Why? Because another thing I know is that no one stays in one category forever- including me.

5. Working for the boss will drive you insane. At some point in our careers, we will be overlooked, underappreciated, overworked, and disregarded by our bosses. I’ve grown to rarely take this personally, and move on quickly because I don't really work for the boss. I work for my family, to provide food and a home; I work for the community at large, to increase their quality of life; and most of all I work for Christ, who has placed me where I am for such a time as this.

6. Opinions are overrated. Everyone has an opinion. Some share their opinion quickly, while others wait a bit. Some have opinions about everything, and others are a little more passive. Regardless, everyone has an opinion. If I search hard enough I can always find someone to agree or disagree with my own, so now I go with my gut. Trust me, everyone will have an opinion on that too.

7.. God is real. I struggled to put this statement on the list simply because there’s no empirical evidence to support this statement as a fact. However, I would be remiss if I didn't include it. Eleven years into my adult life, God has revealed Himself to me over and over again. There are too many stories to tell. People can take away a lot of things, but my experience is not one of them.

8. Art can change things. I define art as this: one's experience or understanding of reality presented through metaphor. We see art displayed in various mediums. Film, live theater, dance, written word, spoken word, photography, fashion design, and of course, fine art (painting, drawing, sculpting, etc.). The telling of a story through metaphor allows us to encounter a truth with our defenses down. This is why art has power: it can change us.

-Louis

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I needed something I could hold on to, so I made this list. These are things I know for sure. I must admit that I was also inspired a while ago by Anne Lamott's, "12 Truths I Learned from Life and Writing" TED talk. In it, she shares twelve truths she knows. It's quite an encouraging talk and I highly recommend it. You can check it out here.