April 2020 News/Columns

Waypoints: Good Intentions

Take the time to identify what those around you need and help them out even if it’s as simple as putting a worm on a hook.  Photo by: Geremy Olson

 

Waypoints: Good Intentions

When you act, your integrity holds you to your word and lives are changed.

by Geremy Olson

WayPoint: When you start with good intentions you have no need to follow through and people are left waiting for you to keep your word. When you act, your integrity holds you to your word and lives are changed.

 

In the self-imposed, fast paced environment that we live, broken promises are a part of life and written off by many involved in racing through life. But for those who are on the outside of life’s race track, the sting of these broken promises lasts much longer and hurts a little more than we may ever understand. What’s sad is that many of these little broken promises aren’t made with any malice, they are made only with good intentions.

I didn’t understand how painful good intentions could be until I was lying in a hospital bed years ago and had all sorts of people come to see me, the injured firefighter. It was in that hospital bed that I had the opportunity to see how awkward we are when we don’t know what to say. We all want to say something that will make the person in the bed feel better, give them hope and more. So that’s when we say things with good intentions. We tell people what we think they want to hear to give them hope with only good intentions in mind.

Looking back on my experience, all of the people that said they would take me fishing when I got out of the hospital did give me hope. That hope however turned to depression when after months of being out of the hospital, no one who made those statements with good intentions called to take me out on the water. It’s easy when we are running a hundred miles an hour through life to say, “no big deal, it’s the thought that matters”. Come up with the excuse, but they’re all still excuses for broken promises.

What drove this principle home for me was the day I received a phone call. The angler on the line asked how I was doing and after some small talk asked if I could drive. Not thinking his question through I replied, “I can’t walk.”

Words can never replace what is gained by spending time together. (Photo: Geremy Olson)
Words can never replace what is gained by spending time together. (Photo: Geremy Olson)

His answer was shocking at the time but accurate. He said to me, “I didn’t ask if you could walk, I asked if you could drive”.

I responded that I was starting to drive and he told me to meet him at the boat ramp. I didn’t really know him at the time. We had worked together on a project the year before I was injured. No promise from him just a phone call and a fishing trip; a fishing trip that changed my outlook on life. It was on the water during this first impromptu fishing trip where I was able to start emotionally healing for the first time since my accident.

Up until that day, I said and did all sorts of things with good intentions. I never thought through if I could actually accomplish any of the things I promised. When we are in those situations in life where we need to provide hope to kids, family, friends or strangers, look for what you can carry through on and do so with integrity. Then do it.

Over the last fifteen years since that first fishing trip after getting out of the hospital, I have had countless opportunities to make a statement with good intentions or to take action. What I’ve realized over the years is the opportunity to make a statement with good intentions sometimes presents itself in subtle ways. It can be the answer we give our kids when they ask if we can go fishing this weekend, when you’re sitting around talking with friends at work, church or at a ball game about the hot bite at a nearby lake.

I’ve also had the opportunity to witness the power of taking the time to act when someone is in need. This past summer I spent some time on the water with a man fighting pancreatic cancer, I took some kids fishing for the first time and was able to go fishing with my dad for the first time in more than 20 years.

When you start with good intentions, you have no need to follow through and people are left waiting for you to keep your word. When you act, your integrity holds you to your word and lives are changed.

 (Geremy Olson grew up in the outdoors. After being burned as a volunteer firefighter, he had to figure out how to teach outdoor skills to his children from a wheelchair while learning to walk. Today he is an inspirational speaker, Fellowship of Christian Athletes North Dakota Coordinator, ND AIM Tournament Director, Outdoorsman, Producer, Wildfire Consultant & Public Speaker (GOspeaks.live) He is also the proud father of the owners of Missouri Secrets Tackle.)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

You may also like