Over Christmas I had the joy of visiting Kimberly and Mitch, my granddaughter and her husband, and their two children, Samantha (5) and Maxwell (2½). On an outing at an amusement park Samantha was content to hold my hand as we walked through the beehive of people on the move. Mitch carried her little brother much of the time but when he put Max down the child would run off into the crowds, dodging feet and baby strollers and getting out of sight fast. It was all I could do to keep my eye on him and hope that Mitch or one of the others would catch him before any danger crossed his path. The horror of news accounts of lost children drained the fun of the occasion until he was rescued. At the end of the day when we all settled down for dinner in a restaurant Max was asleep in his daddy’s arms. The little blond head lay loosely on Mitch’s chest. It was a rest for us all, a time to collect and share the pleasures and perils of the day.
How like life, I’m thinking. In early childhood we run to meet it with careless abandon, unaware of danger, eager for adventure. A little later we’re more apt to stick with the others we’re with, playing it safe and making it a shared experience. Then we all learn to take a rest, to enjoy the wider view, collect our thoughts, maybe take a short nap, review our map and go on.
Some never stop running through life. Theirs is a clinging to the wild side. Others walk deliberately, choosing carefully their way, but being open to better options. All, in the end, rest in slumber in order to recoup for the way ahead. Most of us learned about this in elementary school with the story of the race between the turtle and the hare. The hare was sure of his ability to beat the turtle but his careless confidence allowed him to rest too soon and the slow steady pace of the turtle brought him to the finish line first.
Now that I’m older I have the luxury of slowing down. Still, I am, at heart and at times, like the youngster on the run. The adult who walks is more my style, however. I’m still going somewhere and I need to check my map more often, decide what I really believe in, what I have yet to accomplish and where I’d like to end up before that last rest stop comes along. I choose, yes, choose, to believe that last sleep will not be more than another nap. That’s why I’m looking toward my destination for the long run, the Home of all homes. Sometimes, when life seems really good, I think I’m already there!