[Big revision on 9/15/2015]
“It’s not the destination, but the journey.” I was checking on this quote because I have been thinking about it lately. It is a little hard to pin down because, it seems, the idea has become a part of human thought these days. It is hard to tell who is quoting whom.
Perhaps it is stopping to smell the flowers. Cliches aside, it really seems like it should be deeper than that, though flowers are nice. (I know that this refers to taking time to appreciate beauty and not just flowers. But still…)
It is not the journey, as such. Nor the flowers or works of art or beautiful scenic vistas. Or even the great concerts and performances. Or learning something new. I consider all of these things and more part of the fullness of this life I have been given. All of those things have their wonderful place in life. But none are the big thing.
Both the journey and the destination are what they are because of the people. Partly it is the people you meet, but it is also the people who travel with you.
Many times our interactions with new people are on the level of, “Do you want fries with that?” or “Please push the fifth floor.” These are pretty shallow. But sometimes time we seem to randomly meet that person that connects on a deeper level. And sometimes the connection is so strong and full that it is affirming and energetic and awesome. And at times scary. Because this new person could be a friend, lover (for those still seeking), mentor, confidante, spiritual leader, fellow traveler, spouse, or even nemesis…. The possibilities abound.
Once I realized this I began to seek deeper interactions to see if there were more to be had. There are. It is possible to make a habit of reaching out to people in a deeper fashion. There is still a need for “surface mode”. You can just say “yes” or “no” to the question about fries. It is not appropriate to do much more. The people at the counter are busy. But if one is energized to the possibility of making human connections it is amazing how opportunities will appear. I have a goal to be habitually open to experiencing the humans I encounter on a deeply interactive level. But not to push. Just to enable. Some people choose to go with it. Some not. Sometimes I misjudge. But by being intentional about my daily interactions with people I am gaining new skills. How much improvement have I made? I have no frame of reference. All I know is that it is better than it was. And that is a good thing, because I still have a long way to go. But if I can make even a small number of people have a better day because I paid attention to them and appreciated them for being…. being an awesome version of themselves, then I have been successful in my goal. And if I meet you and fail to engage you as the person you are, I apologize in advance. But I am still going to work on it.
Those that power through life at a high rate of speed en route to the final destination can fail to engage people on a deeper level. This is their loss. There is even value in experiencing people who are disagreeable, because one can learn many useful things from such people, including how to spot them in the future and insulate one’s self from their negative influence. While is often desirable to approach life in high gear., the Happy Rock Way suggests that we should at times take time to experience the awesome energy of other people. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, I wonder sometimes if otherwise good people were in fact too darned busy to stop and show human compassion. Maybe we all are at times.
I taught school for a long time. (When I started, Jimmy Carter was president.) Along the way there were so many students, parents, teachers, admins and very cool support people… And there were all the artists, musicians, actors, dancers, and actors. I have friends all over the arts. Now there are a bunch of new folks at my new gig. And my wonderful church family. My family and my extended family are an amazing blessing (for the most part…ahem). Not to mention other amazing people who just happened to cross my path. What a pastiche of awesome humanity! I refer to people who have touched me deeply at some time or other in my other blog posts. Once you know this you will see it again and again in my stories. (Of course this includes my close family, but mostly I do not like to blog about those closest to me out of respect. Just so you will know. They are certainly awesome enough.)
It is not the destination, it is the people you encounter on the journey. And it is the anticipation of meeting new people and of new experiences with those you already hold dear.
I am rich and richly blessed.
Thanks, truly, to all of you and thank God.
I wanted to say that some have asked me how you improve at interpersonal connections. I am considering a post on how to make that happen. Let me know if you think reading about that would be worth your time.