Recently I’ve made some interesting observations that I’m not yet quite sure what to make of. They are every day sort of things simply from watching people around me. I see people so differently now than I did before I got sick. Before I got sick, I was all hustle and bustle and busy and I’m not really sure that I ever looked at people. I mean I saw them but I didn’t take time to notice them.
What I know now is, whether I ever come to know it or not, every single person has a story. A life. Something to teach us. And it can be through the written word, oral communication or even though observation. I’ve been doing a lot of observing lately and I feel for the first time in my life that I am really and truly coming to discern the world differently simply by paying more attention to it.
And lately in my observations, I am noticing people. An old man with a cane walking home with his groceries. A woman and her disabled wheelchair bound daughter in a park laughing together. A heavy couple taking a power walk. In all three of these examples of observation, I am noticing on common theme. Everyone is living. Everyone is trying.
The old man walking home with his groceries and a cane. That cannot be easy. Clearly he has issues walking or he wouldn’t have a cane. Does he walk because he wants to or because he doesn’t have a car and has to? Either way, his effort is admirable.
The woman with her daughter in the park. Now this one brought a slight tear to my eye. How hard must it be to be a mother with a child in so much need, knowing that one day you won’t be there for your daughter anymore?. The worry must be mind blowing. But there they were, in that moment, in the park…living and laughing and enjoying each other in that moment putting all other worries and fears aside.
And how about the heavy couple out for a walk. They seemed determined, as if perhaps they had made their minds up to lose weight and get healthy. I say, good for them! You’ve got to start somewhere and they are doing it together.
I’ve been thinking a lot about trying lately. The actual effort of trying is almost, if not actually, more important than the outcome. And I say this because it is in the effort that we learn about ourselves. We learn what we are capable of. It is in the effort that memories are created. It is in the effort even when it is hard to try that joy and pride are found.
To try is to endeavor, to test, to attempt. There is beauty in trying. There is something rewarding in making an effort. Take that mother and daughter for example, the effort to put fear aside and just enjoy a day in the park will bring them a lasting memory of joy and love. The old man who conquered a great physical challenge will be able to eat for the week groceries in hand. And that couple, while it may take time to overcome their weight issues, can today be proud that they started the journey toward better health.
This is a kindergarten concept really, this idea of trying. But I think as adults we get lost in the outcome. We forget that trying is so much more important than how the story ends. As adults we end up driven by outcomes. We end up forgetting about the joy of the journey that gets us there. And that joy comes in the attempt. The leap we make to push ourselves through a challenge, that’s what is important because without that we don’t have anything at all.
We might not always succeed at what we try to do but no matter the outcome, even if it falls short, we can always take pride in the fact that we made a go of it – that we put in the effort – that we made an attempt. Trying answers questions for us we would never otherwise know, doesn’t it?
Life is so short and so precious and yet so overrun by expectations, demands, drives and perceived requirements that somehow the simple act of attempting something, the joy of the journey toward accomplishment is lost.
I’m not entirely sure yet what to make of these observations expect to say that the idea of trying reminds me that the journey to get where we need to go is filled with little moments of joy we will miss if we don’t take the opportunity to appreciate them and we will lose the true value of the result without acknowledgement of how we get there.