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There are some convictions on my heart right now about all of those things that are truly important in life. And sharing from the heart about those things might be most appropriate on Valentine's Day.

I have a short list of five categories that sums up everything that feels solid underneath my feet. They're the kind of things that a person can build a life upon, the things that we can invest in with all of our heart and with all that we are. The five items that come to my mind are faith, family, friends, fellowship and football.

I know what you're thinking. You're wondering why football is on such a list, and the only thing I can say is you will need to read all the way to the end to begin to understand.

Tom Landry was a devout Christian and one of the most successful coaches of all time. During his 29 years at the helm of the Dallas Cowboys, his priorities were faith, family and football, in that order. So, when a person looks at it that way, I'm really not in bad company.

Faith, family, friends and fellowship are heartfelt priorities in my life for the same reason that they are important in other people's lives. They are priorities that keep us grounded and help us make sense of life's journey. And let's be honest, even when faith is in place, and even when we are surrounded by supportive relationships, life can sometimes still be difficult or perplexing.

But there is something deep within each of us that causes us to look both upward and outward. We look up to God for guidance and strength and wisdom. We look outward to others for companionship and camaraderie. We want to feel both spiritually healthy and socially encouraged. Faith, family, friends, and fellowship are all crucial in that regard.

A book by Kenneth Boa called "Rewriting Your Broken Story" is very helpful with issues of faith. Boa writes about how we must have an eternal perspective in life, realizing that there is much more to our existence than what we experience now. That's why faith is an important pillar in life. It simply helps us have a reference point as we navigate through the years. Faith helps us know why we're here and where we're going.

Football, on the other hand, is quite different in its influence. It entered my life in 1970 and had a big impact on the person I came to be. I never ran a team like Coach Landry, and I never even played the game past my high school days. But it was such an important part of my young life that it shaped, in many ways, how things turned out.

As a child, playing football in the backyard on a cool fall afternoon was very meaningful. And when I looked up to those who played in high school games, on college teams, and in pro football, suddenly there was something that I could emulate. Football helped build discipline into my life, taught me how to be a part of a team, and showed me the importance of contributing to something bigger than me.

To this very day, football still provides valuable lessons that are helpful to me, and it also provides some diversion and relaxation. It is a healthy connection to my childhood, and it helps me remember who I am and where I came from. To this day I sometimes think about the game, enjoy reading about it, appreciate its history, reflect upon it and write about it.

In your own life, I'm sure that faith, family, friends and fellowship are all important to you. Football? Maybe not as much in your case. But I'll tell you what is. There is something in your life or something in your past that is meaningful -- something you remember with great fondness -- something that helped define who you are. And for that reason, it is one of those things in life that matter most.

• • •

David Wilson, Ed.D., of Springdale, is a writer and teacher at heart. His book, "Learning Every Day," includes several of his columns and is now available on Amazon, iTunes, and Barnes and Noble. You may email him at Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Editorial on 02/14/2018

Print Headline: Thoughts From The Heart

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