Savor the Steps

Just before Thanksgiving my mother had surgery on her knee. Apparently, the cartilage had vanished, which kind of made me a little nervous. I didn’t know our body parts could just disintegrate like that. I began checking myself every morning for missing fingers and ears. The only thing that ever came up missing was my memory.

Mom told the kids she was getting a bionic knee, so they wanted her to play kick ball with them. They assumed they’d always win with her on their team. I just wanted to know if it made the same noise I heard on the Six Million Dollar Man series whenever he kicked into bionic gear. It would be fun if people came with their own sound effects. Zac has his own, but when his are heard people usually leave the room or open windows.

During the initial healing process, Mom was not supposed to be in a car or put any weight on it. It needed time to gain strength and she had physical therapy to assist her in getting there. The problem was, Thanksgiving was coming up and she was supposed to go to my sister’s house for that elaborate meal. Laurie’s house is raised off the ground and at least a dozen steps have to be climbed in order to gain access to the inside and the food inside. Mom’s knee trembled at the thought of it.

As the day approached, her knee was gaining strength. They did a test drive, taking mom to my sister’s two days prior to make sure the car ride wasn’t going to cause her pain. Then the therapist gave her his prescription for getting in the house.

“Don’t rush getting inside. Have two chairs ready. When you pull up, have one by the car and as soon as you get out, sit and rest a few moments. When you’re ready, have another chair at the base of the stairs and go to it. Again, rest a few minutes. Another chair needs to be at the top of the stairs. Take them slowly and then rest some more before going inside the house. When you’re ready, go inside and sit and enjoy yourself.”

Mom followed his instructions, survived the climb and had a great Thanksgiving with my sister and her children.

As she was reciting the therapist’s instructions to me, I couldn’t help but think what a great philosophy for this journey called Life. We are usually in such a rush to get where we are going that we miss the journey altogether. I’ve even done that with my writing. I see the finished project and race to finish it, quite often getting frustrated that it hadn’t happened already. I need to pause and enjoy each step, savoring the journey I am on. Each step is precious and worthy of contemplation. Don’t rush toward your destination. Pause. Have a seat. Enjoy what you’ve accomplished so far. Then, get up and tackle the next step.

Don’t sit too long, though. You can savor the past so much that you waste your future. I knew a pastor like that once. For two years all he preached was what his church had done, the great things they had accomplished. He didn’t realize that nothing was being done in the present. Soon, his future started falling apart. People left the church and eventually he resigned. Why? Because he sat savoring the past without getting back up to move to the future.

A balance must be found. Move from point A to point B and then take a breather. Savor what you’ve accomplished and then look at Point C and go for it. Once you reach that final destination, there will be plenty of time to enjoy the entire journey. However, if you don’t pause to reflect on what you’ve achieved so far, you’re going to be too exhausted to enjoy anything.

If Mom had not rested each phase, she could have done herself serious injury. If you kill yourself trying to accomplish your dreams, then no one, including you, will reap the benefit. So, at the end of this day, pull up a chair and look back at your accomplishments. You deserve a break and a chance to give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. Tomorrow, you begin the next set of steps. They’ll still be there, I promise.

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