“ How many people today live moored to regret because instead of setting sail for some higher purpose, they’ve anchored themselves to a false security of affluence?”
– Bob Welch
A great love in my life is travel. To explore new places, meet new people and experience other cultures apart from my own. Take a step in another part of the world and learn their ideals, passions and thoughts on living the “complete” life.
I could write a lengthy love letter to Italy, with whom stole a piece of my heart following my travels there. After decade of planning this exotic trip with my mother and catalyst for dreaming , I had finally made it. Even after years of build up, that country, that unexpected home away from home, lived up to all my expectations and more. Sadly, my mother taken too soon from breast cancer, could not follow. She may have been taken in body, but her spirit was not extinguished. By my sneaking her ashes into the country, she also experienced the blissful secrets of Italy. A portion of her ashes are laid in some amazing places along the Italian countryside ,and I contribute that fact as to why I have had homesick longings to return since. That amazing journey unearthed a deeply buried inner peace I sorely needed.
While reading Bob Welch’s “ 52 Little Lessons from It’s a Wonderful Life”, I felt the recent lesson reaching out of the pages and pointing at me, “ Listen up! I’m talking to you lady!”. He uses the example of George Bailey focusing all of his energy planning his future years full of adventures to distant, exotic places, yet forgetting the meat of life right in front of him. The people, relationships and bonds surrounding him equaled a life. Traveling, hobbies and things are more like the cherry on top. Its not the destination but the journey ,right? Your relationships are what make for a beautiful journey.
I am in that category of dreamers, who too often lean on the what’s to come and not what’s right in front of me. Or how much money can I earn to afford my expensive taste and purchase that fancy couch etc, etc..
Bob Welch states, “ Not that there’s anything wrong with going places and doing things, with jobs and careers, with adventure. But to build our lives on such things is to place weight on that which cannot sustain us. How sad, its been said, when we fall in love with things that cannot love us back…..Instead , the suggestion is that wherever we go or whatever we do, we should make our relationships our top priority.”
We all have people that cross our paths and leave their impact, both big and small, in our lives. Each having a signature footprint that we can recall later in life. However, life is a ever changing season and therefore each persons walk with you along your path is different. I like to think people are put in our path for a specific reason and it is up to us to learn from their purpose in our lives.
Our “season” here on earth is much shorter than we realize, and when the realization hits us in the winter of our life we may be filled with regret. Let the people who encounter us day to day be a lesson that we too serve a purpose on their path through life. They are learning from us as well, whether it be the positive energy we exude or an example of how NOT to treat others.
In my last post from the “This Wonderful Life” blog, I commented on the difference we can make in each others lives. Casting pebbles in the pond of life not realizing how far those ripples travel. We have the ability to chose how life and people affect us and therefore how we impact others. You having a bad day, allowing yourself to be in a bad mood causing a bad attitude towards your family or the waitress serving you can have long reaching affect you aren’t really aware of.
What I personally take from this lesson is to remind myself that even though my life is currently taking an exciting yet scary new path complete with all new scenery, I cannot forget the people around me that are the recipe for making me who I am. God has placed some incredible people on my curvy road thus far. Friends and family, who have taught me unconditional love, shown extreme faith in the Lord, demonstrated how laughter is the best medicine and gave much support when my road was pretty rocky. There are people, co-workers, who I never expected to make such an impact on my life because I assumed they would only briefly cross my path. But those unexpected gems, Jean and Meg, revolutionized my life in how I think, love and respect others. I am grateful for them leaving great big footprints on our walk together still today, because they embody “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” – Luke 6:31
There may be others, who are brought into your life not by choice; maybe married into the family, friend of a friend, or employee. Try as you might, for whatever reason you cannot connect with them. Personalities clash exhibiting chronic negative energy or control issues. You may make multiple attempts by extending a friendly hand only to be snapped at. Those situations are tough. Eventually, you may decide to stop trying because their abrasive footprints seem to squash the flowers of positivity you so diligently planted. Do you fire back with callous thoughts only to feed the excess negativity this person exudes? Can you try to reason with them? To console them to dig deep and unearth the source of their insecurities that cause the constant black cloud and control issues? Though a thoughtful approach, this may back fire and only anger the bear. Thus causing you to throw some food and run like Hell in the opposite direction, hoping he doesn’t pick up your scent and return to your path.
We’ve all had people in our lives that are difficult to deal with. A wise friend recently reminded me, that when someone exhibits control issues or anger management problems, try not to judge. They may have trekked an arduous path before you knew them and are just trying to deal the best way they know how. This does not make them bad people, just human beings. May you find a way to shed light on their dark path and learn from their plight. If you have tried this route and it doesn’t work for you, don’t fear cutting them loose out of obligation. Negativity is dead weight.
It took me 10 years to get to Italy, but my journey in planning that trip was full of wonderful memories with my mother. We learned the geography, researched destinations we had to visit and took Italian lessons together at the local college. Though Italy’s landscape is breathtaking, it was my travel companions, the lovely Italian people and my mothers spirit that made it the life affirming trip that it was.
I still plan to litter my path with new and exciting destinations, but I am reminded today that people are my life not places or things. I hope to cut out negative impressions on my path and be rejuvenated by the positive ones. I want my footprint to teach people to live in the light not in the shadows for your twilight comes all too soon.
“ Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” – Robert Brault