An unedited rambling as I sit at the cabin this Sunday morning
Before I left for the cabin this weekend, I was reading and was struck with the convergence of thoughts and experiences from my reading Ragamuffin Gospel. I was again touched by the message of grace and outward living, I was directed to a new book that I will tackle “The Moviegoer by Walker Percy” and then the image and writings of ERMA BROMBECK came to mind. I did some google research on ERMA and discovered her posting; “If I could live my life over I would….” (Maybe we should just stop, pause and reflect on that one for a while….great heading for a journal post don’t you think? Seriously, stop right here and answer the question for yourself). This Erma title is a worthy question that we wish we could at times do as it asks, yet hopefully the list is short. The reality is we learn from the past and live for the future.
I was struck by the collection of common themes that all converged within 30 minutes Friday morning and began to reflect on the wonders of “Living a Life of Today!”
I was struck by the realization that I have slowly been changing in how I consciously live a little more each day. I have come to realize that this statement and perspective has significance far deeper than the words and is slowly and methodically (patience bob) creating the foundation for a different and impactful life for myself and those around me.
I recall after graduation from Augsburg College and in my first career job teaching, my wife and I made the decision that instead of working during the summer months we would travel, we had not started a family yet and decided that our teaching careers allowed us an unusual opportunity to experience the United States each summer with no special plan other than the direction.
WEST, we stopped at the Corn Palace (Don’t be envious, we hit all the high spots that would make any worldly traveler envious), Wall Drug, Mt Rushmore, Glacier and eventually San Francisco, EAST: Chicago, Great Lakes, New York, Washington DC, SW: Arizona, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, you get the picture. As we meandered in our yellow, hatchback VEGA, we took side trips encourage by paint pealed wooden arrows that expounded “WORLD FAMOUS VIEWS, HISTORIC SITES and CAN’T MISS OPPORTUNITIES!” sometimes we experienced as the sign promoted, but most times the experience was as tattered as the sign that directed us.
Despite the frequent disappointments, we were affected by each experience; we learned from the experience, we grew from the unknown that became the known. We had kept our eyes open and found wonder in what we discovered regardless of the depth of the paint peel and condition of the experience. Think about this, this applies to those around us as well. You know, those people who have paint peeled, worn skin and expressions on their faces. Those whose clothes are tattered and worn, those that you may avoid as it does not appear that there is value in the relationship or connection. They are much like our travels, they are Surprises far more worthy of the experience than you can imagine…in fact you may find those tattered individuals and experiences a far greater surprise than the shiny, top of the chart promotion or attraction that cost $15 to enter and experience.
As time progresses it is easy to lose some of that spontaneous wonder of living a life of excitement and wonder. It is easy to become to focused on career, on performance and how we are guided to defined success.
I remained fully committed to my kids in being fully engage in their lives, hardly missed a significant or even a minor event in their lives; concerts, conferences, plays, athletic events, church activities, coached their teams for 14 summers and at times the winters off season leagues as well, whatever they may be participating in we were there in spirit, body and encouragement. Despite that, I was much like the planet of SATURN, I had many rings in my life, yet I had concentrated so hard on the planet and the first ring (children) that I hardly was aware that her were other rings that should have made up my life. I had become so self-centered on performance driven outcome that I lost perspective on how to truly live my life for the long term and what really mattered beyond my children and career. I actually feel, as I reflect on it today, that I was actually dying each day in a way that I was unaware.
What a mistake, (We are so human filled with sins and mistakes) as it contributed to defining family of origin. I did not realize till recently how this had affected me. Life experiences enable those who pay attention to be more in tune with the “outer rings of Saturn” those wonders of life, those around us and how surprises, prompted by outward engagement changes how ee view life, view relationships, view family, view ourselves. It is not me that is so rewarding, it is those around me. What a great reset in perspective.
I love the term reset as it donates vibrance, change, excitement, maturity and rewards that have not been experienced in the past.
I am coming to realize that it is not only those who have succeeded that are so impressive and life changing (these are easy people to hang with), it is those that have failed, those who are struggling, those Ragamuffins that we often look past that have so much to offer who have so much to receive (these are the ones that will test our soul, compassion and heart. We can all sit with great with pride with those who have succeeded, but can we sit with the fallen with even more satisfaction?
Remember my earlier statement…. For me to consciously be “living a little more each day as opposed to dying a little each day”
What does that really mean? Let me share with you a recent, personal experience that may put this in perspective as it clearly did for me. I was on a run by Lake of the Isles on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon and saw an elderly gentleman shuffling on the sidewalk that I was about to turn onto, as I was running past I was moved to stop, take off my ear buds and walk back and wish him well, we engaged, talked briefly on the wonders of the weather, life and chatted briefly. I again wished him well, thanked him for the brief exchange and took off. I have no idea what he was thinking, but I was moved my desire to stop and engage, I was disappointed that I did not stay with him longer (one of those live my life over experiences). To this day, I look for him to re-engage in our conversation, to forgo my running and get to know this gentleman. I feel that we would be good for each other. Despite this short exchange, I was rewarded with his kindness, his gentleness and his smile as we visited. HE WAS A SURPRISE TO ME that made the balance of my run so rewarding. I have committed to look each day as I run and live to BE THE SURPRISE as I am sure I will discover a reward or be the reward for the experience.
This brings me to the close of this rambling with a request that you watch this clip below….as you watch, think not only of your parents, but your children, extended family, friends and centers of influence, think of those special people in our life and remember that tomorrow my not come. Remember that “I will do it later” thoughts can result in amazing disappointments and that today is the day to show how you care.
As sit at the cabin, Thank You for reading this spontaneous and unedited rambling