Last weekend our family went camping at Kerr Lake. It was great to see family we have not seen in such a long time. It was also great to spend time with Amy, Aleck, Emma Grace, and Ella. It is very important for me to spend time with them because they teach me so much about life. As you probably guessed, this weeks blog post was inspired by a simple event one evening with my children.
Ella sat on the sand digging in the bait bucket and letting worms crawl in, out, and between her fingers as if they were racing on an agility course. Emma Grace and her cousin Hayley, long over the thrill of fishing, were making giant mud balls and throwing them in the water…and on our feet. My older sister, Jenay, was trying her shot at casting and catching a fish. She couldn’t get the line to cast out an inch past her toes and caused all of us to duck for our lives as a bobber and hook zipped past our heads…every try(yes I have it on video). Amy and my younger sister, Annette, were packing up and eventually everyone started heading back to the campsite. As I grabbed up all the fishing gear, I noticed Aleck standing on the edge of the water not following us. I stood for a moment as the sun was setting and watched the little boy in his own little world, not even noticing we were all leaving. I thought to myself, “Geez it’s as if I’m with the Ghost of Christmas Past in Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol, looking at myself as a young boy, wondering where time had gone.” He was picking up rocks and throwing them in the water. He seemed a little frustrated and then I figured out he was trying to skip them across the surface. I put the fishing gear down and walked over to him. “Aww cool. Trying to skip rocks?” I asked. “Yep.” he answered. I picked up a rock and zinged it across the lake’s glassy surface. It skipped four times. “Daaad!!! That was awesome! How did you do that?” Aleck said. And so being a proud Father, I taught him everything I know about skipping rocks… Arm position, foot position, trajectory, wind speed, wind resistance, and even how to deal with heckling(should it occur). I taught him everything he possibly needed to know to become an expert rock skipper with enough knowledge to pass down to his own kids. Aleck picked up a rock and threw it….one splash…he tried another…kerr plop… one splash…picked another and threw…kaaa plooosh…one splash…not one single skip. I thought “How in the world can this kid not skip a rock now? Did his Aunt Jenay rub off on him some way? Did he catch her disease – inabilitytowalkandchewgumatthesametimeitis?” I taught him everything I knew…I thought. Then I watched him from the beginning. I watched him pick up a rock without even looking down and throw it with perfect rock skipping mechanics. And in that moment, I was inspired to share my new life lesson with you.
As Aleck readied his next throw, I stopped him, grabbed his hand and uncurled his clay coated little fingers holding the rock. Just as I suspected, he held a lumpy, round, jaggedy edged rock. “I’m so sorry Big A.” I said. He looked up at me with a confused face. “I forgot to tell you the most important step in rock skipping…choosing the right rock.” I said. We went over how important it is to take the time to search out a smooth flat rock. And with that, Aleck became one of Kerr Lake’s best… all-time champion…mac daddy… rock skippers.
This lesson is applicable to so many areas of our lives. What simple, yet extremely important, step are we forgetting, lacking knowledge of, or ignoring when trying to achieve a desire, goal, or task? I see it in the exercise world every single day. You can research, perform, and stick to a perfectly designed training program, and never achieve desired results. Why? Usually because a person does not take the time to choose the “right rock”(a plan that matches an individualized nutritional pattern to the training program). This means they are skipping an extremely important step in trying to achieve their goal. On the flip side, how many ads and/or testimonies do you hear about diets, pills, powders, and surgeries in an effort to accomplish fat loss….WITHOUT EXERCISE. Exercise is a pretty important step. To be honest, these are the people who typically don’t even want to get out of their chairs to look for a rock. In our personal lives, how often do we overlook a critical step? In a relationship you’re trying to save, the missing step or “right rock” may be finally TRULY forgiving someone. It may be forgiving yourself. It may be saying “I love you”. It may mean actually loving yourself for the first time in a long time. It may be the cessation of enabling another. It may be saying no. It may be fixing your schedule…your life…so you’re not moving through each and every day like a tornado. It may be accepting someone just the way they are instead of trying to change them into who you want them to be. The missing step or “right rock” may be spending more time with your child or children and figuring out who they are, what they need, what they like, and what they fear instead of allowing an “expert” or someone else to tell you. In a tragedy you’re trying to accept and get over it may be a simple prayer that brings you comfort. The missing step or “right rock” in dealing with anxiety, death, fear, or exhaustion may be shutting down your mind and your mouth so you can hear God’s whisper filled with comfort, peace, strength, and direction.
My point is : You may be somewhere in your life right now where you think you’re doing everything you need to do…and it just isn’t working. You’re throwing rock after rock after rock after rock…and only getting one splash. I’m telling you to stop…uncurl your fingers…and make sure you are holding the right rock. That’s all. Pretty simple right? I can tell you I plan on doing this myself, in my own life, and I know it will be painful, confusing, and frustrating, but when I remember and hear in my mind the joy and laughter coming from my son as he put all the steps together to create a magical moment, I know…I know with all my heart… it is and will be worth uncurling my own fingers. 🙂