Nostalgia struck during my morning walk. Golden leaves fell like raindrops as my steps became automatic and my mind turned to people who have played significant roles in my life.
A couple of weeks ago my sister and I were able to have an in-person visit, after not seeing each other for over two years. I wonder when I will see her again.
My one remaining brother lives half-way around the globe. The last time I saw him was when he returned three years ago for our older brother’s celebration of life. Distance makes it impossible to reach out and give him a hug.
Our younger brother left this world far too young. Memories dance through my mind. What I would give to once again hear the chatter and laughter of our family gatherings.
Someone I care for is grieving her son, whose life was snatched away in a tragic accident recently. My heart cries with sorrow for the hope of a future that will never be realized.
It is a fresh reminder that tomorrow is not promised. All we have for certain is this moment. Let’s make the most of it. Tell people you love them, let them know they are valued and hold them tight whenever you have the opportunity.
The words of a song play in the background of my mind as I conclude this post, “Yesterday’s gone and tomorrow may never come, but we have this moment today.”
I first published this story several years ago. It seemed fitting to share it again today.
As seasons change and the weather cools down, we see geese flying south for the winter. We hear their honking and see that familiar V formation in the sky.
I’m sure that most of us have heard the reasoning for this formation. Scientists have discovered that as each bird flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in V formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone. If a goose falls out of formation, it feels the drag and resistance of flying alone and quickly rejoins the formation.
Did you know that the reason the geese honk from behind is to encourage the others to keep up their speed? Also, when the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back and another takes its place as lead.
There are so many lessons for us here. First, people sharing a common direction can get where they’re going quicker and easier by traveling together. We should keep company with those heading in the same direction as us. Second, it makes sense to take turns doing the hard jobs and to remember to encourage those taking the lead.
Another thing about geese is when one gets sick or injured and falls out of formation, two others follow it down for protection and help. They stay together until it is either able to fly, or dead, and then they launch out again. They either fly on their own or join with another formation until they catch up to their group.
The final lesson here is to stand by each other. We should protect and care for each other. It is also good to make new friends who seem to be going in our direction.
If we follow the same guidelines as these geese, how much better would our lives be?
The words came from behind me. I heard, “That’s good,” then, “Magnificent.” After a slight pause came, “Really nice.”
I only had to wait a few moments to see who was the recipient of this encouragement. A young boy rode past me on his bicycle. He wobbled a little. A slightly older brother followed closely and continued his support and encouragement as they carried on down the path.
The words of one gave confidence to his brother to keep going. These boys were a perfect example of the impact our words can have on each other.
Later, on another area of pathway, I came across words written in coloured chalk. They said, “You are loved.” The child who wrote these words brightened my day and probably that of many others as well.
Our words have the power to wound, discourage and anger. They can also bring healing, support, and a sense of well-being. In these troubled and uncertain times, I have observed too many cases of words used as weapons.
I am reminded of a passage in the Bible where it says, “they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.” In today’s language, this would say, beat their swords into shovels and their spears into hoes.
To me, this shows our weapons can be modified into tools used to cultivate a better life. Instead of attacking each other, we can work together for the common good.
Like it or not, my words will have an impact on others. Do I want them to cause hurt and dissention or do I want them to offer encouragement so we can work together to create a better future? The decision is up to each of us. I’ve made my choice, how about you?
In August I was given the opportunity to try a new activity. Since I have a healthy respect, (bordering on fear), of water, the idea of paddle boarding brought mixed emotions.
My friend assured me the water was not deep and I’d be fine. She patiently showed me how to get on the board and how to go from sitting to standing. I was nervous but determined. To say I was excited when I managed to stand and maintain my balance would be an understatement.
After a few minutes I was feeling quite confident with my newfound skill. An insect landed on my arm and I used the other arm to swat it away. This caused me to not only lose focus, but my balance as well. My worst fear was realized as I plunged under the water.
Fortunately, the water was not deep and I was able to get on my feet with no difficulty. My friend told me I’d just done the most graceful backwards swan drive she’d ever seen! I may not have been graceful getting on the board but it sounded like I made up for it when falling off!
When I considered what happened, I realized my balance was lost because I got distracted and stopped focusing on what I was doing. The lack of focus was what caused my fall.
How often in life has that happened? More times than I care to admit! Distractions are all around me and if I give them my attention I’m bound to stumble and fall. Sometimes I can get back on my feet and other times I end up over my head. At the best, my goal is delayed. At worst, it has come to an untimely end.
My experience with paddle boarding reinforced an important life lesson. If I want to live a productive life I need to keep my focus on what is of importance.