Thursday, May 23, 2013

This is the front desk with your wake-up call

Written 14 years ago TODAY. I thought you'd find that interesting for Throwback Thursday.

Wake up calls come at the most unexpected times in my life, and the one this week came in the most unusual place—on the highway halfway between Crossville and Carmi.

Thursday, a family of five traveled through the area on a bicycle—one bicycle, built for four, pulling a cart carrying the youngest member of the family. The family had begun its journey April 1—in Vermont—with hopes of reaching Alaska by Aug. 1.

I caught up with the family on Illinois 1 and 14, halfway between Crossville and Carmi. There, on the side of the road, as semis flew by us, I learned a valuable life lesson.

I had forgotten to dream.
The father, Billy Romp, said the trip was the “living out of a dream.” In part, he said, they were making the trip to remind people that dreams do come true.

And then, in the next breath, without skipping a beat, he turned to me and asked “What’s your dream?”

And I said nothing.
My mind raced to think of something. Surely there was something I could say to save face.

In the scramble of living each day, I had given up dreams; and even sadder, I hadn’t even realized it . . . not until that moment. I finished the interview and walked to my car as the question played again and again in my mind; “What’s my dream?”

Our class buried a time capsule with our 20-year predictions. Me? I was going to marry a sailor (he had been my ‘steady’ all through school), have three children and be the first interplanetary journalist. Granted, some dreams aren’t meant to come true, but that youthful dream gave me direction in the coming years, and I know I made decisions based somewhat on those dreams.

Perhaps decisions come so hard lately because there is no dream guiding me. If I’m to move forward, I’m going to have to find my “Alaskan bike trip” and begin to live it.

And, may I ask, what’s your dream?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Teaching life's lesson

What is the most important thing we should teach our children?

Would it be the value of hard work? After all, a job is the reflection of the person who does the work.

Would it be knowledge, or better, the quest for knowledge? We can't possibly teach our children all there is to know in the world, but we can instill in them the desire to want to know.

Would it be compassion? From compassion, service to others and the community follows. Would it be tolerance and understanding? Could wars be forgotten if all the world developed a tolerance for the ideas and beliefs of others?

What is the most important thing to teach?

Would it be a love of self?
Would it be a love for family?
Would it be a love for others, or do all of these flow naturally from a love for God?

Should we tell them to, in some way, every day, make the world a little better than it was the day before? Should we teach them to be polite, kind, generous, helpfu? Are those the lessons we should stress?

There is no manual on how to raise children. Our children will learn about life, not from a book or a teacher or a preacher. They'll learn about life by watching us. 

The greatest lesson we can give our children is ourselves. 
They watch us and they learn. They watch our reaction to conflict, and learn to either be compassionate or to hate. They watch us in the community and learn to either give or take. They watch us when we worship and when we don't. They watch us in our truths and in our lies.

We are our children's great lesson.
What lesson is your life teaching?

Photo credit: by Jenny Mae as part of a 4-H project on friendship.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Not what I expected

Everyone said the recovery from shoulder surgery would hurt. 

Not just some. Not a few. Not even most. 
Nope, everyone. 

So, why am I so surprised that after five weeks, my shoulder still hurts and therapy makes me what to throw up? I thought it'd be different.

I thought it would be different ...... for me. After all, I've run half marathons; surely it will be different. I've taken care of myself for 15 years, alone and independent; surely it will be different. I raised two kids through college nearly by myself; surely it will be different. Bring it on because I'm ready. 

This is not what I expected. 

And, because it isn't, I've had to change what I think, change how I do things, change how I look at the world and how I interact with it. 

 The unexpected will do that to you. 

With my right arm unusable, I've learned to trust my left to carry the load. I didn't think it was up for it when I first began. It was weak, awkward. I hadn't really paid much attention to it. Yet, when I learned to rely on it, something happened. It came through for me. Sure, it wasn't good at first, but I'd never asked it to wash dishes alone before. After learning what didn't work, we soon figured out what did. And then we did it again, then again, with lots of tasks and challenges. 

And, so it is with the people in our lives. We learn to expect what we expect without ever imagining that it might be different... that life might be different. 

Start looking at life differently. You might just find it's not what you expected; it's better. 

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Photo credit: Heroes are made every day when we do what isn't expected; photo by JudyMae @ Carmi