On a warm sunny day along an ocean front path, something remarkable happened.
A high school cross-country team of 14 & 15-year-old boys ran by in three clusters. The 1st had about 20-spirited boys cheering themselves on, challenging one another for pack leadership.
The 2nd cluster also had about 20-boys, but they were lagging behind and pushing themselves as they tried to catch-up with the 1st group. Then came the laggards, 8 to 10 boys who were unable to keep-up with either group and running with their heads down as if they were failures.
As the last cluster ran by, I thought the entire cross country team had shown itself, but then out of nowhere one more boy jogged by. He was trim and muscular and not even breathing hard.
But what struck me as I watched him run far behind the others was that he had a smile and an air of confidence. Unlike them, he was relaxed and as he ran, he was looking at the light blue Pacific Ocean and at the waves rolling on to the white sand beach.
To him, it wasn’t a race; it was just a jog on a sunny afternoon. It wasn’t a competitive meet but a practice session. He didn’t conform to others; he was simply participating with them, a free spirit enjoying his life on his own terms not concerned with what others might think.
And I realized that free spirit lives in each of us, waiting to come out, if only we allow it. Most of us conform to others’ expectations and forget that spirit of adventure and fun we had as kids.
Seeing that boy jog by in a celebration of life reminded me each of us can address life’s important issues with a youthful energy and a joyful outlook. And if we do, we will bring more fun into our lives and into the lives of others, on this special journey that is the path of life for you and for me.