This one goal—choosing a step and sticking with it—changes everything. Scott Reed
I ran on many errands today, but one particular one to a craft store gave me pause. It was a pretty ordinary activity in which I was buying paints and buttons. I gave it no particular thought but just one more thing to do on a Saturday morning. As I left the store, however, I heard a father say to his daughter in the face of a racing car just outside the exit: Don’t look where you have been. Look where you are going. It was so matter of fact. The girl stopped. So did I.
Up to that point in time, I admit to a raging doubt that I could not shake for several days, one that called into question so many aspects of myself and what I was capable of. I have worked so very hard for so long and it seemed that all those efforts still had not yielded the result I so wished. I fell into tears often in the past few days and still now. Silly me, perhaps. But we do what we do for a lot of reasons we don’t always understand. Stress release, I guess.
The night before when I came home from a long day and still more doubt, my husband shared that he found a little something for me. He knew I was unusually anxious and pulled out a little golden angel pin. “Here is an angel for your shoulder.” I put the pin on my shirt and wore it to Shabbat services that night. Later, in a dream, I felt like a hand was on my back nudging me forward.
Okay, I thought. Something is trying to tell me something. Between my husband’s act, a father’s words to his daughter, and a symbolic dream, I felt I had to pay attention.
I guess I am no different than most. Taking a shorter vision might throw me under the bus, but that would be stupid. I have been given so many gifts and chances to make a difference that it would be short-sighted to take those opportunities for granted. Give up and we are telling others by that action that there is no hope. Give up and we are saying to someone else that it isn’t worth the effort.
I look at my garden and realize that its outcome did not come easily. Every day I must attend to it and ensure it will thrive with the same determination it took for me to create it. It took a lot of work to achieve the present result. It requires vigilance to ensure that result continues.
Beauty means different things to different people, but it is a no holding back approach to tackling our deepest demons, and risking failure for the deeper promise of a live well lived, that creates an outcome unimagined and perhaps most spectacular. We could crawl under our covers, but what would retreat give us? A thousand circumstances could tell us that the reality we are facing is how it is. Looking where we are going reminds us to embrace something larger.
I have no real answers to the anxiety I face. I realize I worry way too much. The thing is in all that worry, I lose sight of the things that matter. My amazing family, the kindness and beauty of the people I work with, the values that guide and bless my life. That is the real gift.
Tending to worry, I also lose sight of the power of tenacity and staying attuned to the end goal. The thoughts and people that help me navigate where I am going and help me find peace are what make the difference. They are worth attention, just like the father reminding his daughter to pay consideration to where she is going. It’s a simple consideration, actually. To persevere, no matter what.