I’m not a Frank and Kathy Lee Gifford fan. I’ve nothing against them but I’m one of those guys who wouldn’t have walked across the street to hear her sing or get his autograph. But, and the whole world will rejoice to know, I’m changing my mind.
50 years ago I found it amusing to hear my grandpa read the news to grandma. He kept on reading although no one seemed to be paying attention. A couple of days ago we had our 2015 version of the scene when my wife shoved a clip of Kathy Lee talking on the Today Show. I didn’t care, but out of respect for my wife, I watched and listened.
Kathy Lee appeared on the show the day after her husband Frank passed away. As I sat there it dawned on me Frank Gifford had embraced getting old with extraordinary grace. The story she shared contained lessons about aging for every Baby Boomer.
Here’s 3 surprising things Frank Gifford did to embrace getting older.
First, he came to terms with his past failures.
Do you remember the Frank Gifford sex scandal? In 1997 a transcript surfaced of a sexual encounter between Frank and a much younger woman. There were also a few pictures floating around. For the Giffords their picture perfect image crumbled. I’m not pretending to know how Kathy Lee reacted. But we can be sure it endangered their marriage.
But as Kathy Lee talked on the Today Show I noticed no hint of her dwelling in the past. Her love and admiration shone through the tears. To me it seemed clear her and Frank had come to terms with the incident. Frank and Kathy Lee had learned to come to terms with the past.
As we get older we too must come to terms with our past failures. By the time you’ve lived 5 or 6 decades you will have made some bad decisions. And some of them may have had tragic consequences. But here’s what I’ve learned from Frank. Cut yourself some slack. Come to terms with the past. Let it go.
Second, he realized who he was had greater importance than what he did.
As Kathy Lee shared her tribute to Frank I learned a few things about his football career. I knew he had played football but I had no idea he had achieved legendary status. In 1956 he was named player of the year. In the same year his team won the NFL Championship. He was named to 8 Pro Bowls.
Imagine the struggle Frank and other pro athletes face when they can no longer physically compete. As a running back the day came when he lost a step and couldn’t cut as sharp as he once did. But Frank adjusted. When you follow his life it becomes obvious he had learned who he was had greater importance than what he did.
In our performance driven society this is a lesson we all need to learn. As we get older most of us cannot perform at the same level as we once did. We tend to beat ourselves up when we are unable to perform at those higher levels of our youth.
But your value is NOT in what you do. Your value is in who you are. Instead of lamenting on lost physical and mental abilities we ought to spend time working on who we are.
Third, he had made peace with God.
The most riveting part of the Kathy Lee tribute to Frank focused on her sharing Frank’s faith in God. In enthusiastic and passionate brush strokes she painted a clear picture of a man who had made peace with God.
She went on to share with the audience of the Today Show how Frank had found peace with God through the forgiveness of sins. This is possible, said Kathy Lee, through the shed blood of Jesus Christ who died for our sins. This part of her tribute seemed rehearsed; as though her and Frank had planned for the day when she would share how Frank had made peace with God.
You might not fully agree with her about how to find peace with God like I do. But it seems wise to find out for yourself how to make peace with the Creator. If you haven’t explored religion now is the time. Now is the time to get ready to meet God. Seek. Knock. Ask. I’m confident you will find the Truth.
Take these 3 lessons from the life of Frank Gifford and start embracing the aging process. You just might discover the rest of life can be the best of life.
Can you think of any other lessons learned about embracing the aging process from anyone else?
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