As my husband and I were returning from Arizona after my grandfather’s memorial service, we had a two-hour layover in Phoenix before the next leg of our journey. Knowing we would be sitting for the next four hours, we struck out for a brisk walk along the concourses. Trailing the moving sidewalk, we saw a dark haired boy who must have not been a day over three-years-old running along the moving sidewalk, his mom laden with baggage slowly ambling behind. He was running as hard and as fast as he could! I involuntarily sucked in my breath when he reached the end of the sidewalk, knowing how I always catch myself as the movement disappears into a solid step. Not this kid. He leaped over the edge, threw his hands in the air, and shouted, “Yaaaayyy!”
I commented to my husband, “Wouldn’t it be nice if the most exciting thing in your life right now was running along a moving sidewalk at an airport?’ I guess I was in a nostalgic mood anyway. I had spent the week with family, getting teary over family pictures, reminiscing about my grandfather and the precious moments we had shared over the years and enjoying multiple meals of food and memories as we did what our family always did – ate too much at our favorite Mexican restaurants.
Still, that little boy’s exuberance was the perfect exclamation point to the paragraph about life God had been teaching me all week. Enjoy the simple pleasures. Grasp each moment and celebrate. Run the journey with purpose yet abandon, then throw your arms up in a victory salute at the end of the sidewalk.
That wonderful mom taught me something too. I remember when my girls were little and we lived in a tiny, isolated town in Kansas, we had to drive an hour just to get anything more than basic groceries. One day, we took them to the mall and let them ride the escalators up and down because the girls were bursting with energy from begin cooped up in the car. Someone, maybe an employee, scolded me for allowing the girls to ride the escalators without purpose and without me right beside them. “They might get hurt.”
Yeah, well, so they might. So might that little boy running on that moving sidewalk. So might I when I take risks through my life. But that wise mom, knowing her child was going to be cooped up in an unrelenting airplane all too soon, wisely let him take the risk, confident that she was close enough to be there should he fall yet far enough away to let him be free to run, to fall and to learn to not fall again.
We need to savor the simple moments, relish our relationships and run the risk of falling and failing, confident that the painful moments, though unpleasant, will teach us and equip us on how to handle the next moment of life.