Sometimes life seems to come at us at the speed of light. Days come and go, and the “To do Lists’ are often undone. Even when we advance them to the next day, other priorities often eradicate them from consideration. You and I both have heard those successful people talk about setting goals for each day and acting to achieve them. Often, when I hear these folks, who are usually standing at a podium, talking to a captive audience, I wonder how much of their success was boosted by the x-factor? You know, those unforeseen people, circumstances, and forces that add just the right pinch of ingredients that move things along in their favor.
I remember hearing the phrase “No man is an island”, when I was in elementary school. Back then I had no clear understanding of what it meant. To be honest, I didn’t develop a decent understanding until later in life, many years after college. Lest you think I was a non-appreciative youngster coming up. That wasn’t the case. I’ve said before, we were so poor, we couldn’t even afford dirt. The term dirt poor didn’t apply in our circumstances. Our elders always taught us to be appreciative for anything provided, from anyone, that might add even the weakest of light to your state of being. I must admit, I haven’t always held that sage wisdom close to heart; however, whenever it has ventured, it hasn’t strayed long and far.
In retrospect, I view my childhood, teenaged years, and early adulthood as times of “delicate” balance. Resources were thin, but there was always enough to advance forward. Those resources, whether encouragement from others, a bit of advice, a prayer from the old ones in my life, or a job paying a meager wage, came from someone God placed in my path. I realize now, without an ounce of doubt that people don’t wonder into your life. They’re placed there. On a day, not too long ago, I found myself meditating on the many souls, who have enriched my life. The number was astounding! There were some, I couldn’t remember; however, there is no way I could look in any mirror and honestly say, “I did it all on my own.”
I’ve been blessed to have had a good formal education, ending in a master’s degree, and a rewarding career in Human Resources. I retired almost five years ago from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, as the associate vice chancellor/chief Human Resources Officer. Please don’t be impressed by the title. I was the personnel officer, as they used to say. There’s a gospel song that goes something like this, “I come from a poor family. We didn’t have much, but the Lord’s been good to me.” When I look back on my educational and professional career, that song provides a fitting anthem for my life. It reminds me that my boots and straps have been provided by so many folks who have crossed my path, sat with me, and walked a few miles along the way. (It’s important to acknowledge that those folks didn’t all look like me. They came from a good smattering of the full bouquet of God’s creation.) Sure, there were times when my ego would get the best of me, and I would use the pronouns I, me and mine without a second thought; however, I would always be drawn back to the reality that life is staffed with the pronouns we, ours and us.
We aren’t islands. If you find yourself thinking that you are, stop and look around there are other critters on that island with you.
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.