“Decide the friends, mentors & leaders you want in your life, in your inner circle, and court them with emotional generosity.” – Gary W. Goldstein

Emotional generosity. It is a lovely term, I think. It kind of describes the core of who I am. Like many, I believe our greatest strength in excess becomes our greatest weakness. For me, the ability to open my heart or even give it away has always been easy. I am a lover of people. I view everyone as a potential friend.

In my teen years and young adulthood, this often was a weakness. I lacked the discernment to properly gauge who I should give my heart to. Sometimes I gave it where it was not wanted. Sometimes I gave it where it was treated badly. Sometimes I gave it where it had no business going. I learned from these lessons. During those years, I lost my integrity. I lost people. I lost my ability to trust.

But I did not lose my ability to love.

In the past 3 years, in several unrelated instances that have happened as if on cue, Rod and I have been left standing in the middle of traffic watching someone we trusted flee down the road without a look back or a worry about the responsibility of the large, leftover mess falling to us. It’s usually my response to question my own ability to decipher who was worthy of my trust in the first place. But I have to say, in this latest disappointment, I’m not going to do that.

See, I put my trust in Jesus Christ. To people who don’t believe as I do, this sounds crazy, or maybe just misguided. I can’t see Jesus. He has never spoken to me in an audible voice. He has never held my hand, wiped my tears, signed my paycheck, babysat my children, helped me with the dishes, laughed with me in a movie theater, or sent me a text.

But based on my trust in Him, a one-named man I’ve never seen before, I agreed to move my family 1000 miles from all that was familiar and safe to manage a theater. The circumstances of that have changed a bit, but the mission has not. And the purpose? Well, we’ve always known our purpose is to serve Him, regardless of whether we are promoting a gospel concert, a magic show, or our kids reciting the Pledge of Allegiance on YouTube.

These last few weeks have been the hardest since we moved. With Paige leaving, the girls starting school, and a lot of unrest at work, I’ve woken every day with butterflies wrestling over the pit in my stomach. In my heart and even my mind, I knew a bigger picture was being painted, but my gut just wouldn’t agree with me. I’ve cried a lot, I’ve shut down a bit, and for the first time I almost began to consider if we should ‘go back.’

It’s like I forgot who I was for a moment. Not only am I not a quitter, but I am a warrior. It’s in my name. It’s in my soul. And fighting is what I will continue to do…not just for the success of a family friendly theater in a beautiful little beach town, but to answer the call of God on my family. We’re riding with Him, and for me, at the end of the day, that is the purest, most magical, most real thing there is.

I don’t know if my armor has gotten a little stronger because of previous battles lost, but I’m letting this one go without losing much sleep. I will continue to make brothers and sisters out of people, I will hug necks and kiss babies and share stories and try to help. But if they go, I’m letting them. I stink at some things for sure, but I’m a good friend and I have a big heart, and I’ve grown up enough to know not to give it if it’s not wanted, and my Inner Circle means so much to me that I’m not going to widen it very easily.

In the fight, my greatest strength is giving love. And my most valuable wisdom is to know when to let go.



  • Allenr72900

    love it! keep on truckin, Burton’s. y’all ROCK!