Friday, October 30, 2009

True Wealth

I am a quote collector. I love quotes that make me feel something in the moment I read it or hear it. A recent one that came across my desk that gave me tingles up my spine....always a good sign, was " Wealth is the ability to fully experience life", Henry David Thoreau.

What I love about this thought is no one is excluded. If everyone believed this quote to be true, there would be no disappointments in life. Every person that would be able to fully experience life, whatever that happened to be, would consider themselves wealthy.

Now of course, for this to be true, we would have to give up the belief that to be wealthy is only determined by how much money we have to spend or happen to have in a savings account, bonds or trusts. Now, I am not against that kind of wealth, but that alone does not make a life worth living or valuable.

Some may also only treasure the life experiences that were easy or thrilling or with a positive outcome. Don't get me wrong.....I love those kinds of life events, yet I recognize that some of the more challenging experiences take me to a new level of understanding and appreciation. Over the course of my life time thus far, I have discovered there is more to the mix that makes life full than the obvious.

When I focus on life being a series of experiences and I am fully open, accepting and willing to live them, regardless of the associated emotions or circumstantial side effects, then I believe life will be full. My wealth account of living would be at the max.

The alternative of not fully experiencing life by resisting, complaining or hoping something would end only creates a cloud over the potential learning and growth that is laced within each experience. I am open for it all.

If anyone should ever overhear me complain about a challenging future life event, please remind me of what I am stating here. Sometimes we all can forget that there are blessings in every experience.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Invisible Rain

I was invited to be part of the local high school homecoming parade last week by driving my convertible with a King as my passenger. This was a new adventure for me, and since I love to do new things, I gladly accepted the invitation.

Unfortunately, about an hour or so before the parade was scheduled to start, it began to rain. When I arrived at the high school parking lot, I sat warm and dry in my car (with the top up), waiting for my passenger and instructions on where I line up. What I witnessed in that hour long wait was truly a gift. In spite of the cold October rain that was destroying the previously crafted and decorated floats, the students representing ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth grades joked, laughed and danced as they were pummeled by Mother Nature.

I couldn't help but think that their joy in this event could not be dampened. I did not see a single scowling face or act of anger regarding the inclement weather that dared to affect the night's activities. These kids were totally unaffected by the rain, almost as if it was invisible.

At five o'clock sharp the cars, floats and Fire truck took off in the assigned line up. My passenger, the Freshman King, and I, coasted along, throwing candy from our windows to the delighted children along the curb. As we moved along the route I was surprised to see an even bigger turnout of well wishers and parade watchers lining Main Street.

It almost seemed like the rain added to the fun. The students were all drenched. The paper decorations were falling off and paint was running down the sides of the signs. Parade watchers huddled under umbrellas and hooded jackets. I'm sure the weather made it uncomfortable, but the town spirit for the event was not dampened.

As I glided up Main Street, waving to the crowd, I thought about how happy I was to live in a town that cared more about community, connection and good fun than about how something appeared to be.

It appeared to be raining, but according to the students and the parade watchers, it was a delightful, balmy, October evening.