Amy showed me this quote earlier in the week. I know I've seen or heard it before, but something stuck with me this time...and I've come back to this idea a few times each day.
I come back to the words and recall Mrs. Harper, my 3rd Grade teacher. She was one of the kindest people I've ever known and reminded me of the best parts of both of my grandmothers. She was a small, older woman...I think I was taller than she was back in elementary school. I distinctly remember one day when our music teacher pulled me into the hall because I was being loud in class. She said I had a "sonorous voice". Man...to a little kid who had no idea what that word meant, I was pretty bummed. Mrs. Harper saw what had happened, pulled me aside, and said "Don't you hate it when old people use words you don't know yet?" Then, she explained how I could use a sonorous voice to become an awesome singer; a skill I've still not pursued...but I'll never forget her words when I needed them.
I think of the quote and recall Gary Sheets, the martial arts black belt who taught my Sunday School class when I was in 6th Grade. Mr. Sheets was also a long time assistant coach for our high school football team. He totally broke the mold of what I thought a "tough guy" was. Mr. Sheets really cared about our questions in class and encouraged us to think...really think about matters of significance. He was a renaissance man...at least that's how I remember him.
So, the thought of being who you needed when you were younger isn't negative. In fact, it's the opposite. By remembering what we needed when we were younger, it provides us the opportunity to reflect on those specific provisions which, more likely than not, came through people.
So...who are you going to be today? An encourager? A comedian? A listening ear, or a firm hand? Be who you needed when you were younger. Be that person for someone else.
Odds are that you're nearsighted, and by that, I'm not talking about the refraction on light in your eye. Rather, what I mean is, you probably have a difficult time looking down the road and anticipated what is to come. Heck, most of us (myself included) get so caught up in the here and now that we can't be bothered to look ahead.
What if I told you that fixing this nearsightedness can be a lot easier than you think? What if I told you that you're already doing things that will help you work on your long-term vision and planning? What if I told you that the way forward is to actually go back?
Sometimes, in order to make progress, we've got to take a step back, or event rest a bit. If you've ever recovered from an injury, you know this fact. So, if you've had that experience, then think of your nearsighted vision as an injury. Take a break from dwelling on the things that are, or the things that may happen. Rather, I highly encourage you to look back. Rest, even for just a few moments, in the past. Recount the goodness that you've experienced and even how significant trials have made you the person that you are today.
A few months ago I had the privilege of having dinner with Shihan Judd Reid and I got to ask him a question that had been on my mind for a while. You see, Shihan Reid trained as a personal student of Mas Oyama...THE man who created Kyokushin karate. My question was this:
If you could go back in time and do something differently during your time training under Oyama, what would you do?
It didn't take long to get a response and, to be honest, I was kind of surprised. Shihan said, "I wouldn't do anything different. Even the silly things that I did made me who I am and if it weren't for that, I wouldn't be here today."
That got me thinking about this whole vision thing. My trip to Ukraine got me thinking even more. THOSE folks have vision. They clearly see the past and its impact. They use the past to help inform choices for the future. The instructors out there have amazing vision, and I know this because they also have amazing hope.
Is it really all about looking into, and planning for, the future? Sure, there's that element, but how to we know where to go if we're not quite sure where we're coming from?
My encouragement for you today is this:
If you're worried about the future (scared even) take some time to look back and all the awesome and terrible things that made you who you are today. You've made it through the highs and lows and are better because of it. Look back with gratefulness and let your past experience build faith that whatever is coming...you've got it. After all if you're reading this, you've got a 100% success rate in surviving what the past has thrown at you:-)