Early one Saturday morning, I went to the downtown area of Charlottesville, Virginia. While exploring the inner city, I found a chalk wall cluttered with art and messages on the virtual canvas. The visual experience taught me that unexpected incidents have life lessons.
On that September morning, I noticed a message in the center of the wall that said, “You will likely forget this ever happened”. The flurry of colors and words, pictures and printing was a good representation of how we become distracted by the noise of life. It becomes a forgotten experience.
As I framed the photo, a young girl confidently walked through the picture, carrying a plastic bag. The image I call, “Taking My Chalk and Going Home” was an unplanned treasure, and she made it more than I intended it to be. Instead of a wall of text and drawings, it now had life and intention as the girl stepped through the scene, focused with apurpose.
Can you recall those times as a child full of dreams, hope, and imagination? I recall envisioning that I could build a spaceship and explore the galaxy. Living in the Bayside Trailer Park, the dirt roads with potholes, old trailers and old cars looked nothing like a bay or a park. Yet, that was the life we had during some very poor times. In poverty's midst, I could still imagine flying toward space. I look back at the internal excitement of an adolescent boy that believed anything was possible. My only supplies were scrap pieces of wood found behind an empty trailer and my bucket of hope and imagination. Where did those days of wonder go? If asked, some might claim that life got in the way.
It’s easy to get caught up with our world and the busyness that runs through it. Some limit their dreams to what they have today and then believe that’s the peak of their potential. For those who trust that self-limiting story, they create their own reality. Yet, it doesn’t have to be or stay that way.
The unexpected sometimes brings freedom. It’s an opportunity to see and feel things in a fresh light, or even look at ourselves with new capacity.
When you study the cross section of a tree, it displays its age by the rings. The inner rings (or child years) are part of the same tree as the older ones. Notice how the earlier years are safeguarded by the nicks and dings of life while the older rings closer to the thin skin of the tree show wear.
Our hopes, our dreams, our ambitions and our potential for the future are still there, like the child rings deep inside. If you don’t notice them anymore, perhaps life’s unfocused noise clouds your view of them.
Don’t let the unexpected limit you. Use it as an opportunity. Ask yourself, “What lessons can I learn from this?” And, “What can I do with that?” If you want your life to drive forward, move. Movement takes action. Just know that inside, you are the same capable person, able to imagine and create a future in the same way you did as a child. If the noise of life or the unexpected has impeded what you presently believe as your future, that can change, and you can live the life you’ve been wanting.