Stones On The Path

I started this blog as an outlet for my creative thoughts; as a way to reconnect with myself and awaken my soul. What I have discovered in the months following the creation of this blog is, it is really difficult to put myself first. I don’t mean this to sound as if I am the most selfless person ever who only does wonderful things for others; not putting myself first can also mean passing the time in very mind-numbing, unproductive ways that do nothing for the well-being of my soul. With that in mind, I am making a conscious effort to make myself and this blog a priority in 2018. This year has already included some major life events which have had that little hamster wheel in my head turning even more than normal. I will start 2018 off by just sharing some recent thoughts I had while trying to make sense of this thing we call “life”.

Throughout my 40 years in this world my life has been a combination of experiences that I could have never predicted. As I lay here and contemplate this ongoing journey, I see myself walking along a pathway. The landscape around me is constantly changing from beautiful green trees and crisp mountain air to a dry, desert wasteland with brutal heat from an unrelenting sun; from a bitter wind and encompassing white snow to a warm ocean breeze and soft sand between my toes. Along the way I’m collecting stones that catch my eye, each one representing an experience in my life. Some of these stones are rigid and bland while others are smooth as ice and brilliantly colored. Regardless of their differences, I pick up each one and after a short examination, I place it into my backpack. Some stones are large, some are small; some are heavy, some are light as a feather. Sometimes I will take a stone back out of my backpack and look it over, remembering when and where I picked it up; but as the backpack fills up, the stones get mixed together and it becomes more difficult to find the specific one that I am looking for. Some are so rare and unique that I can find them right away! Others are small and ordinary and blend in with the pack.


Each time I pull a stone out and spend time examining it, I notice something interesting happens, it gets larger. I also notice that the opposite is true, the stones that stay in the backpack unnoticed begin to shrink in size. The weight of the backpack stays the same as only the relative size of the stones is constantly changing. As time passes, the space in my backpack becomes occupied predominantly by only a handful of larger stones while the smaller stones sit at the bottom, hidden from view. At times I think of one of the smaller stones and wish so badly to find it but is too difficult to unpack all of the larger ones that are now in the way. Along the path there are several checkpoints. At these checkpoints, I am required to take the 5 largest stones from my backpack and display them to the world. Sometimes the display is bright, colorful and inspiring to those lucky enough to view it. At other times the display is dull, rough, uninteresting and people wonder why so much time was spent examining these stones. As I place the bright, beautiful display back into my backpack, people express joy and gratitude for allowing them to experience the beauty I’ve collected through my travels. As I pack up the dull, uninteresting display people show sadness and pity that these were the best stones I had to share with the world. They don’t understand that I have SO MANY bright, shiny, unique stones inside my backpack, those were just too small and simply didn’t make the cut….

This is just one man’s mind making sense of the world. Maybe this resonates with you, maybe not. What I have taken from this reflection is that all our lives are filled with good experiences and bad experiences. We all have stones that are bright and beautiful; we all have stones that are not. If we spend our time focusing, examining and analyzing the negative experiences in our lives, our display to the world is going to reflect that. People will see our jagged, dull, lackluster stones and feel sorrow that these are the experiences that occupy our thoughts. If we can instead, place those stones in our backpack and realize that it’s ok that they are in there, they will always be a part of our journey; BUT also remember that there are so many beautiful and unique stones to focus our attention on, it could completely change the way we view our own existence. If we spend our time appreciating the beauty of the blessings in our lives, our display to the world will be inspiring! People will be drawn to our display because of how it feels to be in the presence of such beauty. Realizing this and executing this are two vastly different concepts. Sometimes it is not easy to put down the dull, jagged rocks because of the painful experiences that these stones represent. Those events can stick with us far longer and more vividly than we would ever wish. My hope is that I can learn to put those stones away more effectively and fill my life with color. Have I experienced trials, heartbreak, loss, pain, sorrow? Yes, immensely. The fact remains that one day I will no longer be on this earth and someone else will be unpacking my backpack for the very last time. When that day comes, and the world sees my final display, I want everyone’s eyes to behold the immeasurable beauty that I have been blessed with in my lifetime. And then maybe, just maybe, MY life can be a bright and colorful stone in someone else’s display.

What are your thoughts?? Let me know in the comments below.

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Jeff


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