I made it to the company plane at Toyota Air Flight in Long Beach in plenty of time. I gave no indication to Bob McCurry or Jim Perkins of any of the conflict at home. I carried my burdens inside, wearing the mask of optimism and everyday politeness.
I was a winner—hardworking, dedicated, gave up my vacation, took my work home, and was a good family man. I didn’t get sick, didn’t let the problems at home interfere with work, and didn’t get tired, depressed, or burned out.
But it was becoming impossible to meet the time demands of Lexus, my family, and God. I was being pulled in opposite directions. Everybody wanted more, and they all wanted more of the one thing I didn’t have more of: time.
There are only 24 hours in a day. If I slept eight hours and worked ten or more, that left less than six hours a day to bathe, eat, go to soccer games, meet with teachers, and fix the plumbing. There were not enough hours in the day to get everything done, and there was no time left for God.
When I got home from Chicago, Cynthia and I were too busy to talk about what had happened. The years would go by while the pain would be ignored and remained buried until much later. Real life is not the “happily ever after” Hollywood ending we see in the movies. This balancing act called life is a long struggle of hard choices about how to spend the time we are given. These choices can have serious consequences for those we love. It would take me a long time to recognize the sacrifices my family made for my success.
I overheard a conversation my son Blair was having in the garage with one of his high school friends. They were talking about their home life. When Blair was asked about his home life he said, “Well, my mom’s over-stressed and my dad’s never home.”
Feelings of guilt nagged at me. Did it mean I didn’t love my children because I missed soccer games and teachers’ meetings? Was I being a slave to the anxiety that I had about my job? Why wasn’t God helping me? I felt like the Lone Ranger.
It was C.S. Lewis’ book Mere Christianity that helped me comes to grips with the life balance issue. Lewis wrote that the most important part of the day is when we wake up. He wrote, “It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job in the morning consists simply of shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.”
God was helping me, but it took me a long time to realize it. After Chicago, I began by trying to take a few moments to be quiet each morning and present the names of my family to God for His care. I also asked for the wisdom and strength to be patient and understanding. Through the years, the patience and understanding has been hit-and-miss and more miss than hit. I still struggle with finding the right balance. The quiet time each morning has become the most important part of my day.
How do you cope with the struggles of your daily life? Read the God of Hope book to learn more about how God walks us through everything—especially the hard times.
Jesus was asked by a lawyer which commands from God are the most important to obey. Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind…A second and equally important command, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27 (NLT) Jesus also told them, “Forgive and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37 (NLT)
I have deep regrets, but no satisfactory answers to my work-life balance issues. It’s messy. After 28 years my observation is: Pray for guidance. Do your best, forgive, and ask to be forgiven.
Psalm 40:9-13,16-17 (MSG)
“I’ve preached you to the whole congregation,
I’ve kept back nothing, God—you know that.
I didn’t keep the news of your ways
a secret, didn’t keep it to myself.
I told it all, how dependable you are, how thorough.
I didn’t hold back pieces of love and truth
for myself alone. I told it all,
let the congregation know the whole story.
Now God don’t hold back on me,
don’t hold back your passion.
Your love and truth
are all that keeps me together.
When troubles ganged up on me,
a mob of sins past counting,
I was so swamped by guilt
I couldn’t see my way clear.
More guilt in my heart than hair on my head,
so heavy the guilt that my heart gave out.
Soften up, God, and intervene;
hurry up and get me some help…
Let those who know what you’re all about
Tell the world you’re great and not quitting.
And me? I’m a mess. I’m nothing and have nothing:
make something of me.
You can do it; you’ve got what it takes—
but God, don’t put it off
God did not put off his rescue of me, but it is an ongoing process and has taken more than 28 years. But the pressure at work got even worse when LexisNexis filed a lawsuit on April 22, 1988 in the Federal Court of the Southern District of New York to prevent Lexus from using our name.
(To be continued in “A No-Name Luxury Car Division”)