I want to share with you one of my favorite life analogies here. I will never claim it to be my thought, my idea. I have to believe it has been written of, discussed, debated, and offered in a variety of printed material. I am sure I must have read it and swallowed it whole, mentally, embracing it thoroughly as a life truth. This then, it surely not original, but is my original rendition of this great truth.
Consider a grain of sand if you will – a speck of silica or mineral. Completely innocuous and decidedly minuscule –insignificant even – unnoticeable to most all of us. It is lost immediately upon observance, dismissed as diminutive and dull. Take a few grains of sand and you begin to take notice it; it shifts and flows with movement and it actually begins to take form. It is still a mere handful of grains though, one toss of the hand and it disperses back to insignificance.
But continue to add grain upon grain to your handful and it begins to assume some small level of permanence. A shake of the hand or a flick of the wrist is no longer enough to relegate it back to near invisibility. It is becoming a singular thing; no longer a collection of simple and single grains of sand, it has mass and form. Add even more grains of sand, time and time again, and you end up with a vast desert, overtaking and absorbing anything in its path. Each grain joins the next to form a majestic and unique blend; each grain providing an infinitesimally small contribution to the whole. And with natural variations in each grain, each serves to provide that desert with a shade and hue of color that can’t be duplicated. Together, those seemingly unimportant and insignificant grains make a truly spectacular entity.
Much the same with us, all that we do in life, like deciding to wrestle instead of playing basketball, like deciding to be friends with Jim instead of someone else, like deciding to leave school instead of staying; like deciding to work at one place vice another; all these things are grains of sand that expand your desert, your life, into what it was meant to be. Each encounter, each adventure, each heartbreak, and each joy is a grain of sand that shapes, moves, and flows your personal desert in your unique shape. And every smile, every laugh, every tear adds a color and hue to those individual grains of sand. And as they all accumulate, they color and tint the desert of your journey, your life. And…….life, like a desert, moves, shifts, and changes endlessly.
Our friends, our experiences, our moments accrue and accumulate as grains that expand, nurture, grow, and color our personal deserts; colors of emotion sweep through our hills and valleys of good time and bad reflecting the darkness and the light of our lives.
Stop on occasion, look back at your desert. See the spectacular hues that your life has colored for you; the reds, the yellows, the shades of blue and green are all reflective of the millions of moments, both deep and meaningful as well as those inconsequential ones, of your personal life’s journey.
We all have doubt or fear; all of us, whether we acknowledge it publicly, or even to ourselves for that matter. Many learn to manage it, control it, suppress it, or otherwise deal with it. But it’s there. We wonder if we “fit”, if we “belong”. We doubt our ability, our credibility, or our sensibility in that moment. “Can I contribute?” “Can I offer anything of worth?” “Will I fail?” It is the nature of humanity to doubt ourselves; it protects us and ultimately drives us to greater places than we dared hope we might venture.
Of course we don’t falter and give up; we take a deep breath and we soldier on, casting aside our doubts. But in those moments, recognize the shiny shimmering grains of sand in the moment, immediately destined to add to the splendor of your personal desert. Revel in the expansion, the new tones soon to be imparted to it. For these moments add the deepest hues to the landscape.
So smile at that person with the harried look on their face, stop and let that frustrated driver into your lane of traffic, say hello to the new person in the office or classroom. You will add to both your desert as well as theirs……