Today the President of Brigham Young University was released, and a new one was called. President Worthen served with a great example of care and love, and the new president, Shane Reese appears to be an excellent man who will do a great job.
This switch in leadership, got me thinking about times in my life when something comes to a close, and when something begins.
It made me think of my sunset rides in the fall of 2019, when I would fight back tears as I enjoyed the perfect single track and beautiful views, knowing it would be my last time for two years I’d get to enjoy this beauty. I thought of my last high school race, as I intentionally slowed down just a little bit in the final few hundred yards to take it all in, my last time crossing a Nica finish line as a racer. It broke my heart a little bit.
I thought of my last ski tour the day before I left for Argentina. I distinctly remember trying to look harder at the mountains than I’ve ever had before, in hopes that it would leave a mental stamp that would never erase.
I thought of my last day in Ohio when I reflected on the effort I’d given over the past 20 months, and on each person I had the opportunity to connect with. I thought of starting my mission, the emotional overload. It felt like I was feeling all of the emotions at once, and it just about made me burst. Burst into tears, into laughter, into love, into everything. It was a little bit overwhelming at times.
It’s moments like these that help us understand what is actually important in our lives.
What I’ve come to realize through these experiences, is that the most important thing is people. People.
I used to think that if I could live in a cabin in the mountains with a full library, a piano, my mountain bike, and skis, that I could be happy all alone for the rest of my life. I don’t think that’s true. I think it could be enjoyable for a time, but ultimately, the thing that makes all of those things so good is the people.
Think about how boring racing would be if you had no one to race against. Think about how underwhelming the finish line is when no one’s there. It’s people that enhance life. It is people that make it life ever-changing, and unpredictable. It is people that make endings sad, and beginnings exciting. In short, it is people that make life worth living.
So are we connecting? Connecting in real life? Are we seeing the people around us as people? Or are we seeing them as “obstacles,” “irrelevant,” or “vehicles.” That’s what the Arbinger Institute talks about. When a driver cuts us off, do we see them as an obstacle? Or are we able to recognize them as a person with hopes, wishes, and maybe a really important place to be. When we walk past people in the store, do we look at them, and recognize that each one has a grand story to tell, a life complex and beautiful? Or do we see them as irrelevant? When we talk to the waiter at the restaurant do we see them as a vehicle to getting our food? Or do we see them as a person, who may be having a long day at work, or who maybe has something important going on outside of work? Do we see the people around us as people?
I often find myself in the trap of failing to see people as people. It’s so easy to forget, and to get selfish.
So the next time you’re around people, recognize them as a beautiful being. Alive.
And also remember the wise words of Dr. Seuss, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”