Ever be walking down the street, or through the grocery store, or even in your own home and just trip? And then you look behind yourself, trying to see what made you stumble, as if you were expecting to see some hand sticking out that grabbed your foot? But there’s nothing there. Just air.
I do. More frequently than I care to admit. And it’s usually because of one of two reasons …
I’m looking way too far ahead in my travels or I’m thinking way too much about my past expeditions. Either way, I’m not paying enough attention to the steps I am taking at the moment.
When I was a teen, I had those typical growing up days that were filled with angst and worries about my future – university plans, is that boy going to ask me on a date, will I get my period on swimming day in gym; or regret and insecurities about my past – the exam I ‘only’ got an 80 on, did I have fresh breath when he kissed me, was my bathing suit creeping up into the crack of my cute little bum when I got out of the pool. You know, the usual stuff teen girls think about when under the influence of life. And when it happened, my mom used to say something to me that always put things back into perspective. It drove me nuts when she said it, but it worked. Every time.
“Marianne, look down”, she would say. “Where are your feet? C’mon, put your head down and look at them. Where are they?”
I would oblige and look down, point at my feet, and say “Right there.”
“That’s right”, she would reply. “Right here, right now. If you waste too much time thinking about where they were yesterday or where they might be tomorrow, you’re gonna forget where they are right now. And you’ll trip over yourself doing it.”
I can hear her voice saying those words to me now, as if she were standing right beside me. As much as I may not have liked it when she said them when I was younger, I still use that precious life lesson she gave me when I’m under the influence of life as I know it today.
I remember that there is a bright future in front of me. But much like the sun, if I stare into it for too long at a time, I’ll get blinded. And I remember that there is a shadow behind me too. But if I gaze at it for too long, I’ll trip and stumble, just like on thin air on a sidewalk. The sun and the shadow are two parts of my unique journey. I need them both. I need to plan and dream for the sun that will shine ahead of me, whether it may be on clear days or on cloudy days. And I need to learn from the shadows that same sun cast in my past, both the ones that look full and curvaceous as well as the ones that look thin and frail. Most importantly however, I need to be mindful that they are/were only destinations along the way, not the journey itself. The journey is taking place right where my feet are – right here, right now. Just like my mama said.
I think I’ll go buy me pair of multi-colour socks today. They outta brighten up today’s journey. If not for me, then for the folks who see me in them. And they’ll remind me to bow my head. Just like my mama taught me to.
Love you mom. Always have. Always will.
In response to today’s Daily Prompt: Shadow
Image source: Graham Hellewell user on flickr.com, CC2.0 Generic