“Everyone just stop and wait for a minute!” I implored.
My wife looked at me, wondering what I was doing.
“Now, look up!” I continued.
Everyone looked up at the amazing fireworks as they lit up the sky with immense colors and booming explosions. It was a beautiful background to the beautiful fairytale castle and starlit sky.
Our children were gazing at the spectacle, some with their mouths wide open, others commenting on how beautiful it was.
“Wow, that is so incredible,” one said. “Those are the best fireworks I’ve ever seen,” another added.
I found great joy watching their reactions, more than I did in actually watching one firework explosion after another. Their faces said it all, this was a wonderful and memorable experience and they were taking it all in.
We had spent that day walking 14 miles, quickly scurrying from one place to another, trying to take in all that the massive theme park had to offer. One long line after another, all for a very short, almost insignificant, burst of speed experienced on each of the different rides. The walking and the waiting tested everyone’s patience and stamina. By the end of the day, we were all tired, with aching feet and frazzled nerves. It is no wonder that when the fireworks show began, all we could think of was quickly getting to the next ride, while there were fewer people standing in line.
We hurried from one part of the park to another as we struggled to determine the GPS’s directions. Turn left…wait a minute…that was wrong, we were supposed to go right! With each wrong turn we felt like the show might end at any time and so we felt even greater pressure to move quickly.
With Jen at the lead, and Piper and Hailey right behind her, I made sure from the back that Jack and Isabelle kept up with the group. It was then that I remembered what one of my greatest heroes and mentors told me when I was a young 23-year-old.
“You need to realize that this life is a journey, not a destination,” he would say to me. “You need to stop and smell the roses along the way or you’ll miss out on life’s greatest gifts.”
“Everyone just stop and wait for a minute!” I said.
It was that moment that I realized, because we were so determined to make it to our destination, we were missing out on an opportunity to participate in a spectacular show and wondrous experience. Instead of rushing to a ride (that ended up not being that great), we should stop and look up at the event flashing right before us.
One important lesson I try to instill in my children is to set high goals and work very hard to achieve them. But most important, don’t let the end goal be of such great importance that they miss out of the lessons and joys of working toward each goal. The value of goals isn’t just achieving the end result, it is overcoming, working hard, and learning along the way.
I’ve spent so much of my life, looking only to the future destinations—once I’m married, then I’ll…Once I’m finished with schooling, then I can…Once we are in a house, then I’ll be ready to…With my next job I’ll finally be able to…If I could just earn, $XXX, then…
Our past provides us lessons to learn from. Our future helps us prepare for what will be. But our present, oh our present…it must be lived in. Otherwise, we will never find happiness and peace, always seeking the next destination.