Sam Rayburn was one of the most powerful men in Washington, D.C. during his tenure as Speaker of the House. He liked to say that he had not served under eight presidents, but with eight presidents. He enjoyed instant access to the White House by a side door. His power and influence were immense.
There was a side to the man that very few knew. One day he heard that the teenaged daughter of a Capitol Hill reporter had died. Early the following morning, there was a knock on the reporter’s door, and, when he opened it, he found Speaker Rayburn standing there.
The grieving father invited him in, and Rayburn sat with the family. Finally Rayburn asked, “Have you had your morning tea?” The reporter said that they had not taken the time, so the speaker quickly said that he could at least make hot tea for them.
While he was working in the kitchen, the reporter came and said, “Mr. Speaker, I just remembered that you were supposed to be having breakfast at the White House this morning.”
“Well, I was,” said Rayburn, “but I called the President and told him that I had a friend I wanted to be with.”
I am sure that the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives had a great many important tasks to perform that day, but he made time for relationship.
I have come to believe this simple truth: Life is about relationships, and the quality of our lives depends upon the quality of our relationships. When we forget or lose sight of that, we start to live a half-life, drowning in our “doing” instead of growing in our “being.” Jesus taught us, again and again, that the essence of being fully alive is to be fully open and present to one another. We may accomplish a lot of things in our lives, but we will be remembered for WHO and HOW we loved.
How are you doing on that front?