Dominic is starting to work on his Eagle Scout project. The potential project includes creating a dog park in our neighborhood. The first step before he can even put his proposal together is to ask all the nearby home owners if they would be okay with that.
No worries, Dominic just put on his Scout uniform, grabbed his notepad, and started knocking on doors. How wild is that? Even better, he doesn’t know who more than half the people are! Dominic is basically going out and doing cold calls voluntarily in support of a good cause.
That simple action makes me so proud. It’s be so easy to take the easy way out and find a different project, use a over, or some other form of communication. Nope, he’s grabbing the bull by the horns and has received some tremendous feedback already.
One more reason I’m proud of Dominic, he understands that some of the best things in life lay well beyond the point of discomfort. Never give in to fear when courage is the right answer.
Rather than boarding a flight to an ocean beach I was wandering the woods in the snow. Quite the contrast, right? I was exactly where I should be.
Becky and I spent most of our morning at Pike’s Peak outside of MacGregor, Iowa. Due to the cold weather and snowfall we were amongst the few in the entire park. Once we were more than 100 yards from the observation area we never saw another soul.
I drew in breaths of fresh autumn air through my nose and concentrated on soaking in each exquisite little detail of the sights and sensations around me. The bright red leaves and even more scarlet berries of one type of plant. The drops of water resting on the waxy underside of oak leaves. Each little “brick” in the elaborate lattice work of the limestone rock outcroppings. The sensation of the cool winter-ish breeze and snow rushing against my face and tickling the hairs of my beard. The lighting of the woods shifting and transforming as the sun danced amongst the clouds. The music of Becky’s voice as we shared our joys of the wilderness. Each step. Each breath. Each individual second. Pure magic, pure joy.
Our morning was spent in a walking meditation in the stillness of the woods. Exactly where I was called to be in those moments.
If this were my last day I would go peacefully, full of joy, fully satisfied, and with a heart full of love. Today I have lived.
I’ve read portions of Walden by Thoreau but haven’t read it all the way through. When I went to order a copy online I happened across a book with that story as well as a handful of others. My plan was to read from Walden through the rest of the book, but last night I felt compelled to read the last story for some odd reason.
Laying in my hotel bed last night I read The Artist of the Beautiful by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I could hardly lay still in bed afterwards as my brain was consumed by the tale. The story has been on my mind all day long for a variety of reasons. I have a suspicion that it will haunt my thoughts the entirety of my life moving forward.
I do not want to spoil it for you if you have it read it before and will do my best to describe without giving anything away. If you’d ever like to talk with me about it in more detail I would be happy to.
While reading it there were many emotions stirred in my soul. Grit – the determination to see something through to completion. Self-worth – doing something specifically for oneself specifically because one can and also possesses a desire to do so. The stoic mindset of controlling only what one can control was seen throughout. Belief in one’s own ideals and a refusal to bend to the thoughts of the world. The beauty and simplicity found in nature. The passion that drives one to accomplish great things. Sacrificing desires for the grandest of dreams. The importance of living into one’s true self. All of these thoughts, themes, and emotions in one short story from a century and a half ago!
As I face my own personal trials and am at a crossroads of pursuing my true self this story has inspired me to be the best me I can and to trust and follow my dreams of creating something beautiful. I plan on revisiting this story often both as reminder and warning to help my choose and stay on my right path.
As the pieces come together on my writing I’m continually grateful for this journey. Losing Dad was the most difficult time of my life to date. The pain can still be raw at times. I often wish for an opportunity to have a few more minutes with him, another conversation, or another hug. The sense of loss will never leave my soul.
What’s interesting is that the more I write the more my thoughts shift from loss to gratitude for the time I had with Dad. So many wonderful moments, memories, and experiences with him. I am so fortunate to have had Dad in my life.
The more I write the more memories come back. The more I write those memories down the more memories that also rise up to the surface. And so it goes.
In many ways this journey has brought me closer to Dad. I’m seeing more clearly the impact he’s had on my life and the legacy I hope to leave my boys. As I write I’m seeing the good and the bad, what I’d love to grow into and the gaps I need to cross.
All the while I know Dad is with me in this journey. I can feel him supporting and guiding me. We do this together. It isn’t my story I am writing, it is our story we’re writing. Each step is a smile, a discovery, a lesson, and a moment I’m grateful for.