The cops had surrounded me. With no place to hide, I exited my car. One officer approached and with his arm up gave me a…
…fist bump, of course.
And with that, my day at the Kirkwood Police Department community event had begun!
The heat, the wind, the sun. The connection, the gratitude, the joy. It was definitely a day of extremes. And surprisingly, four life lessons:
1) Accept Help
Grocery Store Bagger: “Do you need help to your car?”
Me (cart I can barely push + two boisterous kids): “No thanks, I’m good.”
Fellow Target Customer: “Do you need help reaching that top shelf?”
Me (standing tip-toe on the lower shelf): “No thanks, I’ve got it.”
I like the feeling of independence, which means I tend to decline help. But at this event I said “Yes” to offers of help from my daughter, my friend and neighbor, a yet-unknown-member of my community (a.k.a. “a stranger”), and a police officer.
Letting someone have our backs doesn’t mean we’re incapable; instead, it’s accepting a life raft while swimming to shore vs. insisting on treading water.
2) Ground Yourself
When I mentioned wind earlier, perhaps I should have added “tunnel” behind it. In fact, I used more tape than your average creative child—if you don’t have kids, just know that they use A LOT of tape—just to keep things from lifting off.
It reminded me of that quote from an unknown author:
“If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything.”
Without a foundation of values or beliefs, a strong gust of wind can disrupt our journeys, sending us places we don’t want to be.
3) Make a Beach
Or a rainforest. Or any place that allows full immersion into your senses. Though I believe there’s beauty in every moment, I’m also aware that some moments get all of our senses operating at the level of glee.
And every now and then, we should go there. It’s possible with some creativity and a child-like mind.
I saw it happen Saturday.
My “practice your presence skills” sandbox attracted plenty of kids, but two in particular, who were there with their grandparents, captured my attention. They played in the sand—scooping, sifting, digging, leveling—for (I’m guessing) about 45 minutes while the adults watched, smiling, under the nearby tree.
All four people fully present and enjoying their time at the beach.
A little sand, a cool fan, a sea salt candle, a coconutty drink, and an ocean sounds CD…and you and all your senses have arrived at the islands.
4) No One is “The One” for Everyone
There were those who eyed my table and kept walking and those who stopped to hear more but then left without participating.
I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, but who is? Not even Oprah is beloved by all. But it’s our job to serve those who want refills of our tea and not to despair over those who prefer coffee.
Prior to taping everything down, my daughter was securing the “watch our gratitude grow” tree. During a super-windy moment, she declared,
“I’m not gonna hold this tree all day, Mommy.”
So maybe there’s actually a fifth lesson—we’re all here to help each other, but my purpose is my responsibility. And your purpose is your responsibility. We can’t blame others if we fail to execute and we can’t expect others to do our work.
So carry on, bold souls, and may all your police station visits be as inspiring as mine was.
Where’s the most surprising place you’ve learned a big life lesson? Share your story below!