My father-in-law, Watson Parker, was a breath of fresh air in my life. He was a kind, sweet man with a gentle spirit. He lived life slow and easy. Several years ago, he took his first plane ride and left his home state of South Carolina to visit us in Texas. We filled our time together with a trip to San Antonio to visit the Alamo, taking him to an Astros game, visiting family and friends, boating on the lake, playing games, and singing the oldies but goodies. We kept him on the go and he was such a trooper...always going...and never tiring or complaining.
One day while he and I were home, he was resting on the couch watching me do a little house cleaning. Being that this is one of my least favorite things to do in life, I was scurrying through it so I could get back to playing. As I was vacuuming hurriedly or lickety split (as my mother would say)... I was complaining out loud how this stupid vacuum didn’t pick anything up. And Mr. Parker witnessing my frustration looked at me and softly said...
“Well, if you’d slow down a little bit...maybe it’d give it time to pick something up!”
So with a smile on my face I slowed my pace, letting the vacuum do it’s job correctly, and contemplated the impact of my wise father-in-laws words.
And what wisdom was packed into that simple little statement...
“If we slow down a little bit...maybe we could pick something up!”
We live in an instant world... instant service, instant food, instant messaging, and instant results. No wonder we have a difficult time with slowing down and waiting to find the richness in the moment. Why do we race around so much? What drives us? Where are we going so fast? We seem to be more concerned with “doing” than with just “being!” Our desire to accomplish, succeed, and make it to the top causes us to forfeit the joy of real living.
As I get older I realize that in youth we learn; in age we understand. We understand that our days are numbered and that there is no day like the present to start living every moment to the fullest. One way to enrich our day is to spend quality time with the relationships in our lives. Building meaningful relationships will make you rich beyond measure. Taking time to “see” those around you, to “hear” their stories and to “feel” the emotion of the moment is time well invested on both parties part.
I remember my Mother talking about when she was a little girl how she loved to sit around the domino game table and hear her father and his brothers talk about their “good ole days!” She was taking the moment to stop, look and listen to the generational stories around her enriching her for her own stories in the future. I believe that present day generations are missing that kind of enrichment, therefore losing the stories of our past, because we don’t take the time to stop and listen to the wisdom of those around us.The wisdom such as a quiet little voice reminding me to slow down and maybe you'll pick something up. So for the rest of the days that my sweet father-in-law was with us, I spent time asking him about his life and relishing in the act of just 'being" in his presence. We sat one afternoon in rocking chairs on a porch drinking lemonade while he took me down memory lane and the treasures that I take away from that moment will enrich my life forever!