I read a story of two men, a Professor and a soldier named Ralph, who met at an airport walking to the luggage conveyor belt to retrieve their luggage. As they were walking down the concourse Ralph kept disappearing. Once to help an elderly woman whose suitcase had fallen open, once to lift two toddlers up to where they could see Santa Claus and again to give directions to someone who was lost. Each time he came back with a smile on his face.
The Professor being curious asked Ralph “where did you learn that?”
“What?” Ralph said.
“Where did you learn to live like that?”
“Oh,” Ralph said, “during the war, I guess.” He then told the professor about his tour of duty in Vietnam, how it was his job to clear minefields, how he watched his friends blow up before his eyes, one after another.
“I learned to live between steps,” he said. “I never knew whether the next one would be my last, so I learned to get everything I could out of the moment between when I picked up my foot and when I put it down again. Every step I took was a whole new world, and I guess I’ve been that way ever since.”
I love this story and I practice it as often as possible. In today’s society it sometimes seems as if we go out of our way to ignore people. We avoid eye contact and hurry about our business. Too often we aren’t even aware of our surroundings and we certainly don’t want to get involved.
Little acts of kindness have always put a smile on my face, when I receive them and especially when I give them. I am always touched when someone lingers a moment to hold the door open and countless other things that they don’t have to do.
The abundance of our lives is not determined by how long we live, but by how well we live.
I pray I might imitate Jesus while walking between steps.
This song reminds me of the abundance in my life…
All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful: The Lord God made them all.
Each little flow’r that opens, Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors, He made their tiny wings.
The purple-headed mountains, The river running by,
The sunset and the morning That brightens up the sky.
The cold wind in the winter, The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden, He made them every one.
The tall trees in the greenwood, The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water, To gather every day.
He gave us eyes to see them, And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty, Who has made all things well.
Cecil Frances Alexander, 1818-1895