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Can I Thank You with an Eggshell Landing?

Volume XVIII, Number 3 Fall 2021

It’s a delicate goal I endeavor to accomplish in thanking you: my goal is an eggshell landing for The Navigator. This is a nautical term that refers to bringing a boat into shore with such skill and finesse that it glides into the dock with exactly an eggshell’s width to spare.

There is always more; more thoughts, more people, more life

More mountains to climb

More valleys to find our way through

More hope to find and give

And like streams throughout, always appreciation of my curious and brave readers.

One chapter is closing.

The journey of writing the Navigator

Sailing into its destination.

The many questions at the beginning

Decades ago

Have found many answers.

Thank you to all of my loyal readers

For your support and for many answers you have given me.

I have always had great interest in your journeys and many of you have shared them with me. You have inspired me, informed me, caused me to consider other perspectives, and contributed greatly to how I work with those who are seeking answers for their questions. The overarching, main question clients bring to me is: how can I live well?

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.

- Rainer Maria Rilke

Questions and answers have been fascination and motivation for me. The Lord has blessed me with abundance in many ways, and my work is a big part of it.

Three personal reflections on these many years of working with you and writing

1. You have blessed me. I have often reflected on the fact that you all have been such a blessing to me, a tremendous, significant example of abundance in my life. Many have sent me comments of support and encouragement on the articles and newsletters I have written. In the letters and notes I have collected over thirty plus years of doing this work, it is heartwarming for me to read from so many of you of the positive changes and personal growth you have experienced and which you attribute at least in part, to our work together. I will give you a few examples here. I present them all anonymously, though knowing who they are from adds wonderful depth for me.

  • 2006 Christmas morning, waiting for a teenager to awaken, “…I found your most recent newsletter, opened it, and received my first gift of the day. What moving and lovely sentiments! You are truly finding the courage and skill to express your sentiments and experience in a way that connects.”

  • 2007 [regarding the newsletter] “Keep it coming. I usually unsubscribe from everything, but not your newsletter.”

  • 2013 “I was especially struck to learn that ‘creativity’ could be considered a value as it is something I consider to be one of my best assets. Knowing that I have a responsibility to the next generation I began to look around for where I might apply my creative tendencies to the … family interests. On the final morning of the retreat the perfect opportunity presented itself and I have already launched into participating.”

2. You have taught me. I have been learning from you all along. When I began helping wealthy individuals and families in 1990 there was no one doing what I envisioned. It was just me and my dreams of the knowledge, encouragement and hope I wanted to offer inheritors. I had to learn the territory and the challenges on my own. I learned it from you.

I have seen how diverse your realities are. When I have planned events, I have learned to count on some of you telling me, “I am not like other rich people, so I don’t want to come.” Still, what you do have in common is that you want to learn and grow.

There was the client who harbored some “shoulds” about being a wealthy person. She thought she should travel and she should like it, because that’s what rich people do, isn’t it? She was a self-professed homebody but bit the travel bullet and took some trips. She didn’t like it at all, and eventually gave it up. So, I learned that some people harbor “shoulds” about being wealthy.

There was the Christian family who engaged me to help them in their Christian foundation, because in this big, extended family they were so at odds arguing with each other, they were paralyzed and unable to compromise at all. They couldn’t make any decisions about where to make the grants required by the foundation charter. The irony of this impasse was not lost on any of them. Fortunately, with the courage to work this through, they were able to function and make their gifts. Clearly, Christians can get stuck in anger too, unable to heal or act.

We all ache at times with the guilt of mistakes we have made, and yet my clients all know that we can embrace the present, take charge and build the life we know will be better. We can indeed make lemonade out of lemons, and I always feel that those of you who have engaged with me have allowed me to make great use of many mistakes I made as a young adult. You have given me purposeful, meaningful work, and I can’t imagine a better outcome.

3. You deserve to know how much my Christian faith is the source of my insight. Some readers recognize this, and for this I am grateful. Often, I feel I am walking a delicate line between being honest and not pushing a reader away. However, it is a regular practice of mine to pray silently for guidance for clients when we are together. I’ve listened to the wisdom of scripture, and know that when I pray, we will receive guidance.

  • 2010 “I just wanted to thank you for being a courageous Christian. To give a spiritual backbone to your newsletters is a wonderful thing, making your message truly valuable, truly transcendental. Psychology can only go so far, financial advice can only go so far, but Christ makes all things whole, as your newsletters beautifully proclaim. You are doing a great service – thank you!”

There have been families over the years who have wanted to hire me to facilitate a retreat, only if I can “teach and lead without mentioning Christ or anything Christian.” I learned to say yes because the Lord in His infinite wisdom always provided a window to His power, strength and understanding. Though I agree to not bring up anything Christian, I do not agree to lie if asked a direct question. Sometimes a family member would surprise me by referring to Him in a discussion with everyone present. They would have a question for me to answer or some kind of opening they would present. Or it might be a private one-on-one question with a family member during the retreat, and they would ask about my faith or they would ask about their own. As I recall, there was always a door that opened wide.

I have always encouraged you, my readers and clients, to revive or begin your spiritual practice. Often this means a new entry to the religion you grew up with. The Bible talks about wealth more than anything else, more than faith and prayer, especially if your definition of wealth encompasses more than strictly financial wealth.

Jeremiah 17:7-8: But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.

Hebrews 13:5: Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Psalm 37:4: Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

I am still seeing current clients and intend to do so for years to come, as long as they still have work to do. I will not be taking new clients though, and will refer them to my books and other writings.

Thank you for your receptivity and your responses to my newsletter, now called a “blog,” over the past eighteen and a half years. I wish you eggshell approaches and landings as you come alongside your family members in all of life’s rich experiences.

© 2021 Thayer Cheatham Willis. All Rights Reserved.

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