Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pause for Prose: Baby it's cold outside

There are universal questions that we all ask ourselves throughout course of our life's journey. One of them seems to always be “Who am I?” For some of us it feels like it takes a lifetime to answer while we are met with more and more intense questions at varying crossroads that often feel frightening. Frightening because it requires reflection of ourselves, who we are and we desire to be.
Yesterday I awakened work to freshly fallen snow that covered all of New York as I was getting ready for work. This was a totally new experience for me because I am from Texas. It rarely snows there, and when it does everything shut down. Here in New York folks don’t miss a beat, so with a “when in Rome” attitude I began my trek to the job.
In the midst of tingling frozen fingers, a runny nose, and a flurry of flakes hitting my face, I had an epiphany. Not just that it was cold but something more. As I walked down the avenue to my train I noticed footsteps in the snow going in every direction. Some seemed to disappear in the dirt and grime of the street while others were going right and some retreating back from whence they came. As I began to make my own impressions I thought about all of the pressures I have put on myself to be something grand and to make my impression on the world. I heard the crunch of contentment and felt myself slipping on a path that says, “Life is too short for mistakes you have to get things right the first time” yet when an elder passes we are often met with words of solace like “they made many mistakes but with those mistakes that were life lessons, and left impressions on them that made them the person they are. We should celebrate their life for their greatest successes and many failures.”
Too often we focus on the destination that our footsteps will take us to, yet we forget to enjoy the texture that life brings and the journey that leads us to our destination. We step out into the cold world feeling all alone, on our own trying to make sure that we don’t slip and fall, or get on the wrong path and having to turn around.
Often discouragement and fear lies in the knowledge that these paths are unchartered and therefore unknown. There are holes you could sink into, snow covering ice that could cause you to slip an fall, slippery walk ways that could cause you to lose your footing. For this reason it seems that many of us run from the path that was laid before us, retreating back to beginnings and never progressing. You got folks telling you, you may get out there and that cold is going to kick your ass, only to find out that it’s not that bad. For me as I moved forward I began to see things differently, as I took each step I was creating a temporary path for someone to use as a guide and even if I were to fall or step in a hole my mistake helped expose my followers to not step that way. But the thing I think I liked most about the snow is that any misstep I made would soon be blanketed so that I could try again, and soon after it will all wash away when I reach the warm destination of self-contentment.

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