Gone (20220530)

I was walking my normal path this morning when I had an Ah-Ha moment derived from a simple comment by my youngest grandchild.

Okay, in all honesty it was not my “normal” path nor was it my “normal” walk. I really just started walking and though I enjoy the walk and feel great afterwards, it seems I have difficulty sparing 20 minutes each day to do it. But that is a different subject…finding margin in our “busy” life to do the things we like, love and need.

Today was a lesson brought about by a simple text message.

For me, it was a message in leaving, loss and the brevity of life.

I tend to walk briskly. I do not run; however, I enjoy moving my body fast enough for me to feel it. Sometimes my body reminds me it is not as young or flexible as it had been in my younger days.

But I digress.

I walked the first quarter mile or so and was rounding a cul-de-sac in a new section of our neighborhood. Our daughter and her family had bought a home just across from the end of that street, and seeing her sitting on her porch, I shouted a “hello” and waved as I wound clockwise around the circle. She looked up and waved back…and I kept walking.

Heading into the next segment of my walk, I felt my phone vibrate and saw a text message. My youngest grandson had spotted me just before I rounded the turn and disappeared from view. His comment?

“Gone.”

A simple observation meant as an observation of my physical presence within his sight.

One four-letter word.

And yet, it brought forth thoughts of the passage of time and how quickly it goes by. That in turn led to thinking about our interactions and presence in the life of others. We are here…then gone. A simple word that has so much meaning in a variety of contexts. It summarizes how we interacted and impacted others as we zipped through their lives. And we always make an impact, we forget this and need to be more intentional in deciding what kind of impact.

From birth to death and yes, even after death our presence has been felt by so many people.

I remember meeting my cousin 55 years ago and due to distance, life and language, those trips were the only times I spent time with her. Last week I received a note informing me that she had died and though I do not remember all of the specifics of our shared time, I do recall the feelings of that time. Just a blip on life’s rocky road made so much more immediate and meaningful by that one simple word.

A word to be kept in the forefront of our thoughts. One which offers a guide to our behaviors and interactions. Because we all know that sooner or later, we will all be…

Gone.

ROAD OF LIFE SERIES: #2 Where are the Smiles? (20220516)

Your assignment:

  • Walk down the street and see the other walkers.
  • Watch those running.
  • Observe car and truck drivers.
  • Snatch a peek at a bicyclist as they zip by you.
  • Scrutinize people getting into shape (in any exercise regime).
  • View those at work.

Discovery: Too many serious people and not enough smiling going on in life.

I recently “ran” (aka walk-ran) a 5K race. I was in the back half of the runners since roadrunner genes are not plentiful in my DNA.

I started off like everyone else. “Bang!” went the starting gun, and we all picked up our first foot of the race and set it down, only to repeat it for the other side. Taking my sights from the feet in front of me and looking up, I began to notice those around me. We had all volunteered for this race, paid our fee, got the T-shirt and runners numbers. We signed up for many reasons but everyone’s “Why?” was different.

We had woken up early, strapped on our running shoes and clothes, checked the weather, registered, got tagged, and stepped up to the starting line (or way, way, way in the back like me). Most of us probably felt a jolt of anticipation as the starting gun was fired, and then it was time to go.

So, we ran or walked. And ran or walked some more.

I was filled with respect by the breadth of participant ages. I was awed at the finish time of the first place winner and wished I could have caught the same tail wind to shorten my time just a wee bit.

BUT…out of over 350 runners, maybe 10 ran with smiles. Some had stoic countenances, others looked like I probably looked…. exhausted. It was the rare individual who ran with any external sign of joy.

In Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddell states “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast! And when I run I feel his pleasure.”

Perhaps the joy was within all those 5K runners and just did not reach their face.

I know when the moment came and I realized no one was smiling, I decided to smile. I decided to toss a “dad joke” out to the volunteers as we trudged by them. I tried to remember to say a “Thank You” to the police who were ensuring the safety of the event, and to those who were giving us a cup of water as we “zipped” by them.

Did I remember to smile as I crossed the finish line? I will let you ponder that and perhaps ask you to consider the last time you smiled while waiting in line, sitting at a stoplight, walking down the street, working with a colleague, and so on. I can get so caught up in what I think I need to be doing next, that I forget…to smile…to feel joy in the moment and share it with others.

So, find your smile. Share it and you will be surprised and uplifted by receiving an answering smile from most of the people you meet.

I hope you have a day full of smiles!