I sauntered into our sales meeting at Grubb & Ellis MidAmerica|Pacific maybe six minutes late a dozen years or so ago and started to sit in my usual place and Sweet Lew looked me in the eye and said, "If you steal a man's time..."
Not everyone can drop that sort of conviction in six words; it was a game changer for me and helped me to see myself and my view of time more clearly.
Lewis Clarkson was 94, when he went home to be with his Savior on November 23, 2013. Takes quite a man to brighten heaven, but Lew was up to the challenge.
Another time I was asked to speak at an IREM meeting I think on the state of multifamily real estate in our metro, a topic I was reasonably well-versed in. I was called to the podium at Wakonda Country Club, stood up to say something clever, promptly forgot it and then I stood there. I could see everyone but couldn't think of a thing to say. I deeply and utterly froze.
I prayed quietly that the Holy Spirit would help a baby brother out of the longest minute of his life and there was Sweet Lew: he raised his hand and asked me a question that got me out of my horrible vapor lock. I felt like Awkwa-man for a few weeks after but thanks to Sweet Lew, I was not alone.
I'd stop by his office around the corner from mine and he'd tell me more about God than I knew, just in the way he listened.
Without knowing I'd done it, I moved my young family into the little neighborhood right behind Lew's house in Johnston--a town that nearly bore his name.
Every Easter, Lew would host a city-wide Easter egg hunt for hundreds of kids and one of his grandkids would tell the story of the Sacrifice and what it all means before the mad dash.
Lew's eyes--I'm not kidding--twinkled.
There is no question in my mind, Sweet Lew helped to unlock my heart to be Megs by being Lew.
I called on one of his sons shortly after I learned that Lew died and told him some of what's in here.
Lew was like my wife: someone who always makes you feel better just because they're in the room.
So, it's now 2:40AM and I'm awake because I realized that I started this post the day before yesterday about my friend and spiritual Poppa, Lew Clarkson; but yesterday my dear friend and spiritual Momma Stephanie Lewis died.
Lew West consulting was one of her companies.
And like my Sweet Lew Clarkson, my Aunt Stephanie Lewis (aunt, because she was my mommas best friend not because we were blood-related) was one of the safest people in my life for as far back as my memory goes.
That name--Lew..like Lew is...
She knew where all the skeletons in our family were but always went to extraordinary lengths to look out for my heart and find the good for me and my sisters. Another key and more permission-by-example to be who He made me to be.
The name Lew has derived from names meaning Lion, fame, warrior and light.
And I just woke up connecting the deep impacts these two wildly different characters had on my heart and story and even see how their names hold meaning for me beyond their deaths.
Who are your Sweet Lews? You need them.
If you don't have one, get to looking. If you do and they're still around, go see them. They may not always be.
A few weeks ago, a young associate showed up maybe twenty minutes late. I promised him, I'm never bored--especially at a Dunkin Donuts.
I asked him to sit down and I told him I wasn't mad and he wasn't in trouble but he might want to hear a story about my old friend Sweet Lew's gentle character challenge..."if you steal a man's time..."