The walk is only 650 steps each way. I know – I’ve counted them on numerous occasions. It’s a beautiful Thursday afternoon nearing 12:30PM. Light clouds, the kind that aren’t quite thick enough to look truly white, are brushed across the sky. The temperature is somewhere between ideal and perfect. The hum of airplane engines periodically drown out the signing birds as they takeoff and land (the planes, not the birds). The breeze is hitting my face hard enough to blow my hair back, but not so much so that it’s uncomfortable.
This is my daily down time. I normally use this time to listen to audio books or podcasts, trying to get one more magical trick or tip that will help me along my journey. Most days I can barely hear the words pumped through my standard Apple headphones because the preoccupation of responsibility drowns out the sounds. But not today.
Today I decided that the walk would be in silence. I wouldn’t fill my ears with words from another. Today I would listen only to that small voice bouncing around inside my head.
The naysayer. The optimist. The troublemaker. The intellectual. The programmer. The artist. The doubter. The follower. The overly ambitious. Which one will show up today?
Ahhh… The stressed out one. I know this voice well. He shows up often and most times overstays his welcome. This is the voice that haunts me at 3:00AM like Scrooges ghost. The one that tells me that I’ve failed in the past, I’m failing now and the future will be just the same.
But today a different voice spoke up. One I haven’t heard in awhile. One of the few I actually should listen to.
The voice of perspective.
As I walked in silence for the first 127 steps, I was worrying about things that are out of my control. About things that may or may not happen. About things that, even if they did happen, would be far from catastrophic. I realized that I had lost perspective.
It’s funny that we choose the word “lost”. I don’t think perspective is ever lost. We know where it is. We just choose not to find it. Maybe we forget to evaluate our perspective, but we don’t lose it.
“Proper perspective can always be found in exactly the same place – directly under a large stack of gratitude.”
More interesting to me is why we lose perspective.
I know why I did. It’s been a long time since I last wrote down my gratitude list. Every time I do, my perspective shifts. My mind shifts back to an abundance mentally with little evidence of the perspective-skewed, entitled prick that it once was.
Gratitude is always the solution to perspective problems. Here’s my solution in no particular order.
I’m thankful for…
- a God that has, for reasons unbeknownst to me, blessed me with an incredible family and amazing friends.
- a wife that loves me more than anyone in this world.
- kids that make me roll on the floor with laughter and smile ear to ear on a regular basis.
- a church that displays love in the most unbelievable ways.
- a country where I can write these words without fear of persecution.
- the sun on my face.
- the cool breeze blowing through my fantastic hair. ????
- a city that has one of the most beautiful views of Lake Erie.
- a home to live in.
- time to stand and chat with a neighbor.
- breakfast with friends every Thursday.
- a vehicle to drive.
- two legs to stand on.
- a group of strangers I met a couple weeks ago in North Dakota that already feel like family.
- the ability and resources to learn as much as I want about anything.
- having enough resources to give back, even in the smallest ways.
- good food.
- great conversations.
This list can go on for days, but I typically don’t have to get too far in before I realize that I’ve been forgetting the simple things, the important things that really make life enjoyable. I get caught up in the daily grind and the stresses of trying to make the world spin on my own axis. That doesn’t work. It never works.
If you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, under-appreciated, over-used, like giving up, like you’re losing, like the day isn’t quite right, try gratitude. We can all find something to be thankful for if we truly look.
Categorized in: Life
This post was written by Josh Layhue