So often we hear of people racing against time, as if time were the enemy. Years ago, when I was a runner, I learned a lesson that I find as relevant today as it was back then.
I had found that the best way to put things in their proper perspective was to take my then six-year-old son along with me on a run.
Lewis knew nothing of aerobics, cross-training or shin splints. He did know about nature, beauty, people and fun. With Lewis, I was reminded that running was not just physical exercise – it also meant sharing thoughts and making time to stop along the way.
Running through our rural town, Lewis would point out some beautiful flowers in bloom. “Mom, the trees have their spring clothing on,” he would say. “Let’s stop and smell.” It would take enormous self-control to suppress my inclination to say, “No, let’s push on,” but suppress it I would. The look on my son’s face when he pressed his nose against the blossoms of a dogwood tree was worth the delay.
Henceforth, I let Lewis be the guide. We ran on, over a bridge that spanned a rushing stream. We watched the babbling water and paused to watch it tumble over rocks as it moved on downstream. Lewis climbed a ledge by the side of the brook, performed a dramatic jump to the rocky ground below, and we continued on our run.
A half-mile later, we noticed what seemed to be hundreds of ants scurrying across the road. Stooping, we saw many tiny anthills. We watched the army of ants go about their assigned chores – dragging off dead comrades, hauling food crumbs, moving pebbles.
Before long, we were home again. I was pleasantly tired, but the emotional exuberance and joy in the appreciation of the roadside beauty provided me with energy that sustained itself throughout the day.
If you, like I, have trouble slowing down as you move through a busy day filled with tasks and chores, try to envision having a small child
in your company. Soon you will not need a little guide. You will find that you had it in you all along – that marvelous childish wonder and celebration of life that allows you to leave your stopwatch at home, and take the time to smell the flowers.