Life is a journey. Like a marathon race you must pace yourself so that you will arrive at the finish line with lessons learned along the way. A runner who takes the lead right out of the gate sometimes tires before reaching the finish line. The runner who is slow coming out of the gate may surprisingly be the winner! Are you pacing your race? Or do you race your pace? If you rush along too quickly you may miss the life lessons that take time to learn. A slower pace helps you take the time to encounter interesting people along the way. I find you can learn from everyone, and everyone can learn from you. The words people say can change your life but only if you are listening, and sometimes you have to listen between the lines. Sometimes you have to slow down to a turtle’s pace or you will miss the “moment.” So maybe it’s time to slow your life down a little bit. Be sure and get to know people along the way; it makes the journey worthwhile.
Never underestimate how much people can influence your life. They can set you in motion to fly towards your dreams or hold you bound. A wise person can make a statement at the right time which sets you in a new direction. They can refresh you. Whereas someone with an unguarded tongue freely speaking can crush your dreams and paralyze your hopes with one sentence.
There’s an old, pithy saying, “Even stupid people can look smart if they just keep their mouth shut.” One of my sons tried to help me implement that sentence in my life while traveling on a long road trip. He and his dad, better known as Einstein One and Einstein Two, were having an intelligent conversation. I was slightly car sick and bored to tears by the conversation and many mile drive. I guess you could say I do not travel well; sitting still is just not my thing. They were deep in conversing words on the subject of atomic particles (ATOMS) and quantum mechanics. I politely tried to move into the conversation with, “Are you‘ll talking about biology?” I said with a little Southern charm. To my dismay they continued talking. Thinking the best, I decided that they did not hear me. So I upped my voice to cheerleader level and repeated my question, this time adding an interesting flair, “Are you talk about biology? Remember guys, I do not do science!” To my dismay I could not get a word in edgewise. Did that that stop me from trying to penetrate into their dialogue? Of course not; talking is my thing! As I was trying to contemplate what is golden about silence an idea popped into my bored brain. “Did you know the first man was named ADAM?” I was hoping the conversation would turn around to a subject I was more knowledgeable about, like Theology. My son spoke up. “Mom,” he said, “If you don’t know anything about the subject you can just listen.” “Oh,” I said! It is amazing how much you can learn if you keep your mouth shut.
It is not the first time my children have tried to teach me a life lesson. One son taught me that, “Different is not always bad. Sometimes different is better.” This sentence has helped me to be more tolerant and get to know all kinds of people. Another son sounded profound when, as a teen, he stated, “I do not want to just get a degree mom. I want to make a difference in this world.” Those words, a decade later, have become the theme for some of his generation. A daughter often reminds me, “It is better to be safe than sorry, especially where health is concerned.” I have learned that sometimes just seeing a physician can bring peace of mind. Another daughter taught me, “When life gives you lemons, you make lemon aid.” She is a woman who has learned that when things get tough the tough get going. Still another teaches more by her actions than words, that you are never too busy to care. “I care and I’ll be there,” is her motto. My baby girl taught me, “Responsibility always counts; there is no substitute for hard work.” Last but not least my husband has had the most impact on my life. His theme song is, “Slow but steady wins the race.” His dad taught him, “If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing right.” He knows how to pace the race of life. He never races his pace.
Stop a moment and think about the people who have influenced your life, form your character, guided your path, and changed you. I began compiling a list of the people who have changed my life. My family was right on the top of the list. It is those people closest to you who usually have the most impact. However sometimes people I have met in passing have spoken life changing words.
Last year at my nephew’s graduation the Vice Principle ended the ceremony with this challenge;
“If there was a glass filled halfway with water, an optimist would see it as half full and a pessimist would see it as half empty, but a giver would see the glass, and look around to see who is thirsty.”
I know that the world is a very thirsty place and that the harvest is ripe but the laborers are few. Many people need the refreshment brought by a kind deed, a wise word or even a shoulder to cry on. They need to learn a new skill, or hear your story. Every life counts and every person has something to teach the world. Pace yourself as you run through life. Make sure you are not running too fast that you miss the moment. Take time each day to pour yourself a glass of water and fill it to the brim. Put on the glasses of compassion so you can see between the lines. Then go out into your world and see who is thirsty! If you really want to make a difference you may want to pour a second glass.
photo credit: FreckledPast DSC_0797 via photopin (license)