Money On The Ground

A lot has happened this week. I can’t share all of it right now, but I’m excited. I feel like I’m riding a wave of momentum, and a lot of it has come from this little blog. From my willingness to put myself out there without expectations. I feel like I’m not in control, but I’m committed to writing and I’m open to the outcome. That’s the thing about the internet, about following Seth Godin’s advice and putting your art into the world with the goal of connecting to others. It happens. Audiences, and friends come out of no where to support you, and challenge you.

This week reminds me of a day from undergrad. One day I decided to eat in the student union building instead of going to the cafeteria. I remember feeling poor in college. And for some reason, I felt especially poor that day. The food court was crowded, employees were overwhelmed, and it was chaotic. Lines were long, and it was loud. I had to wait for what felt like an hour. When I finally got my sandwich I walked straight passed the long line at the register. I sat down outside and ate my lunch. The lunch that I stole. I didn’t feel guilty at the time, I pitied myself. I only thought about how poor I was and how there was nothing I could do. I knew I wasn’t in control. I told myself the college wasn’t going to miss five dollars. I was an idiot and I was only thinking about myself.

After lunch I began to walk towards my house. It usually only took five minutes to walk down the hill, and over the stream. But that day I was walked slow. Thinking about what I had done. Halfway home I looked down and found a dollar bill on the ground. I picked it up, and kept walking. And then I saw another bill, and another, and another, and another. I picked up five single dollar bills on that half-mile walk home. Enough to cover the lunch I didn’t pay for. The world was laughing at me.

I never stole anything else in my life, and I still feel kind of guilty. But, I learned a lesson that day. There’s only a certain amount of things we can control. No amount of preparation or good deeds keep bad things from happening to us. And no amount of education, or work ethic guarantees success. But we have to be open and be willing to learn from our lack of control. From life’s crazy circumstances, whether you believe everything is random or that everything happens for a reason. We get stressed out about the small things, and about planning our futures, when sometimes all we need to do is look in another direction. To look down and pick up the opportunity in front of us. Shove it in our pockets, pick up the pace and keep moving forward. Then we can pick up the next one, and the next one.

I didn’t find a five dollar bill on the ground that day. I found five single bills. Maybe I need to focus less on the hitting the home run, and more on a sequences of singles. Baby steps.

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