Last week, Jen and I took our girls down to the beach. It was too cold to get in the water, but that didn’t stop them. I’ve never seen them run faster than when they’re headed for the water’s edge. They promise us they won’t get too wet, but you know how that works out. Without fail and despite my threats to not rescue them if they get in too deep, I inevitably end up completely soaked from the waist down.
She’s four now, but Jalen has always loved to chase the birds on the beach. If I’m quiet and still, I can picture her in a soggy diaper, barely able to walk, but somehow able to run after them. She’d chase them – they’d fly away – she’d crack up and try again. She’d have done this for miles in the freezing cold if we would have let her.
My friend, Kate, has a dream. Strike that. She was absolutely, positively born to do the thing she’s dreaming of. I’m sure of it – not just because it’s her dream, but also because her idea will better the world. It’s one of those things where you say, “That hasn’t been done yet? Why hasn’t that been done yet?! Are you still here talking to me? Get up and go do that!”
I want to share a short poem with you that I first heard Luci Swindoll quote. I wish she could read it to you. She makes these simple words come to life. As you read it, combine the cadence of Maya Angelou and the heart of your favorite aunt, and you’ll be close to hearing it how I first did. It’s stuck with me, and I find it to be relevant in new ways each time I return to it. I’ve read it many times at this point, and its message has taken root in my heart.
Even as we celebrate the road behind us, and reach for what will someday be, let’s not be distracted from the beautiful life we’re living today.
My wife, Jennifer, and I recently spent a few days at a cabin in Mt Hermon, CA. It was a simple house in a simple town – not a ton to do, which was perfect for us. Meandering after lunch one day, we happened into a thrift store and as we were checking out, the clerk noticed the man behind us. He was holding just two small paperback books and a dollar in his hand.
She smiled and said, “Sir, I’d like to get those for you. You can go ahead. My treat.” The man looked at her surprised and replied, “I’ll pay you for them.” Again, she smiled and said, “No, I’m saying they’re yours. It’s only fifty cents; I’m happy to pay it.”
The man paused, considering her offer. He shocked me when he replied, “Let me at least give you the change I have.” Scrounging through his pockets, he came up with twenty-three cents and some lint. He placed it on the counter and walked out, unable to look her in the eyes.
It struck me as so strange… If he’d refused her altogether, I’d have known he thought she was a kook. But the fact that he felt compelled to pay something says he was just uncomfortable accepting her gift.
It seemed ridiculous. For a measly twenty-three cents, he robbed himself of her kindness. Not only that, he robbed her of the joy of giving it. How sad, I thought… to let his pride get in the way over something so small.
And then it hit me… I’m that guy. That’s me.