It’s funny how inspiration works. As I came down my basement stairs at 9:30pm tonight, I really had no idea as to the topic of this evening’s post. After hopping on the elliptical for an hour and working up a good sweat, still, nothing seemed to be calling out. But if there is anything I’ve learned in these past 14 months of blogging here on TSL it’s that I don’t need to try so hard to seek out blog topics. In fact, and at the risk of sounding cheesy to some, I’ve learned that if I just know the right topic will come, then it will. And that’s exactly what happened tonight. As I was sitting in the sauna and completely relaxed while listening to the genius of Bach, tonight’s post found its way into my mind. So the time is 11:20pm here in my little town of Burgess Virginia, and we can now get started…
Over the past few months, I’ve been blessed to watch our community here grow into a thriving mix of people from around the globe. This time for me has been incredibly rewarding, and it has also been a treat to develop some powerful relationships with many of you. For me, community is everything here at TSL, and the fact that so many of you take a few moments with each article I write to leave your comments is incredibly kind and means the world to me.
Amongst the many comments I’ve received here though, quite a few of you (Bryan, JK, Christina, and others) have asked about my experiences in Chile. Up to this point, I’ve shied away from this topic because I don’t want to come across as someone mixing ‘religion’ with ‘business’. Notwithstanding, I feel the following story, although quite ‘spiritual’, will fit anyone’s belief system. So, for the first time, I’ve decided to share tonight one small yet life-changing experience I had while walking the dirt roads of this magical country in South America.
You may have noticed the title of this post was ‘Learning to Let Go and Live In-Spirit’. The phrase living in-spirit was something I originally heard from Wayne Dyer, an incredibly popular ‘self-help’ speaker and author, and is basically derived from the word ‘Inspired’.
I bring this up because as a missionary in Chile, if there was one thing I wanted to have with me on a constant basis, it was inspiration. Walking the streets of a country thousands of miles from my home, in a land that was completely foreign to me and full of a people who spoke a completely different language than my native tongue was pretty intimidating. All these factors being considered, I knew inspiration was key. Or, in other words, I wanted to live ‘In-Spirit’ at all times.
An Unfortunate Event
I mention this because one day, while I was walking down the streets of a little town called ‘Victoria’, I noticed a group of young boys about 30 yards away. And as soon as this group of 6 or so caught their eyes on ‘el gringo’, things started to get a little ugly. In general, Chilean people are some of the nicest on Earth. But on this day, it was obvious that these kids were up to no good, and as soon as I passed by their little group, a barrage of verbal taunts began to be directed towards me. Knowing any type of retaliation on my part would only make things worse, I decided to just keep my head forward, acting as if I heard nothing.
Just when I got about 30 feet away from the group, I felt a shocking impact and subsequent searing pain in the middle of my back. As I dropped to my knees and saw a large rock rolling on the ground next to me, I quickly realized what had occurred—one of the boys had a deadly right arm, and I was his victim.
Before I finish the rest of the story, let me just say that I’m a passionate and competitive guy. Athletics were my life in high school and I’ve never been one to back down from a challenge. In fact, if someone had done this same act to me while I was in my earlier years, I very well may have turned around and gone on full-attack mode—which is what brings me to the point of this story.
As I was collecting my thoughts and pushing myself up from that dusty street on the other side of the world, I stood up and looked back at the young boys. Some were laughing, others were pointing, and all were rejoicing.
But it was in this moment of observation that everything in my life changed, literally in the twinkling of an eye. Instead of letting out my ‘inner Hulk’ that would naturally come with such an event, my response was to stand there and silently watch. And as I did this, a feeling of sorrow came over me for those young men as I realized, due to their circumstances, that they would likely never experience true joy in this life and reach the God-given potential each had been given.
And with this sad realization, I turned back around and walked away.
Which Path Do You Choose?
My dear friends, I relate to you this simple story because each and every one of us will face hardship in this life. There will be moments, when, out of the blue, you will be hit with rocks that will strike you to the core. For some it will be a personal trial. For others it may be work related. But regardless of its form, the one thing that each of us can always control is our reaction to these events. In other words, we can choose peace and forgiveness, or we can choose anger and revenge.
It is my personal testimony that when we live ‘in-spirit’, peace and forgiveness are our only option. We must be willing to ‘let go’ and see the big picture. So that’s my challenge folks. If you’ve been ‘struck’, let it go. Move on. And allow for peace to move in.
You’ve heard my thoughts, but now it’s your turn. How have you learned to let go of difficult events in your life? What do you do to choose peace over anger? As always, your comments are what make this blog a community so please don’t hesitate to be open and share. Also, considering we’re all ‘friends’ here, I’d love to connect with you on Facebook.