Sunday, November 19, 2017
   
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Look how far we’ve come

 

I recently found myself sitting in five lanes of traffic that looked more like an inescapable parking lot. With only a reasonable distance to go, I was astounded at how long it appeared the journey would take. Impatience flooded my being right down to my toes that had begun involuntarily tapping. Time had crawled to a stop right along with the traffic. All that I could envision was how far I had yet to go and the distance seemed discouraging.

In that moment, I was reminded of another time of waiting. It was a slightly more enjoyable occasion...as far as waiting goes. We were at Walt Disney World in Florida many years ago, and I was standing in line for an amusement ride with my children. Feeling a tad overwhelmed by the people and irritated at the long wait in line, my oldest son blurted out, “Look how far we’ve come,” as he pointed to a place in line where we had once stood. This became the mantra of our experience of Walt Disney World: “It’s not about how far you have to go, it’s about how far you’ve come.”

Whether sitting in traffic or standing in line for an amusement ride, I have valued the lesson that my son taught me. I am able to remain in gratitude when I focus on “how far I’ve come.” Similarly, I remain in restlessness, resentment, discouragement and even anger when I focus on “how far I have to go.” A friend recently reminded me that I feed whatever I focus on. I am aware that this is another example of how important perspective can be to my overall mental, emotional, and spiritual well being.

I just celebrated a fairly significant anniversary in my journey of recovery. As I approached the date, I found myself focused on all that I had hoped would have been accomplished or experienced that was not. Tears seemed easily at the brim with thoughts of failure, wasted time, missed opportunity, and a long list of what still needed to be attained. This perspective did not serve me well. Thankfully, I was lovingly reminded of “how far I’ve come.” What a gift to look back and do what my son had done years ago: point to places I had once been but no longer remain. Gratitude washed over me where I was impatient or discouraged. My toe no longer needed to tap with hurried expectation. I am aware that it is not a distant destination for which I strive, but to live in the process of the journey. Time continues to heal as I move forward in gratitude “this moment, this step, this day.”

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