I used to think that life revolved around events. Births, deaths, weddings, jobs, raises, victories, tragedies, etc. Events are important and memorable. They show growth, change and experience.
But are events really that effective in shaping one’s life? A few recent interactions have led me to think differently.
What I have come to appreciate is the impact of moments. What makes moments so special is that they are almost always unexpected. By jumping into life you never know what will happen.
Let me give you a couple of examples:
I love to go surfcasting. For the non-fishing people out there, surfcasting is fishing from the beach. You tie a lure onto a fishing line, cast it out into the ocean, and see what bites. Two weeks ago I was walking on the beach when I found a fishing lure that had been washed up onto the shoreline. The lure had probably broken off from a line cast from a fishing boat. The lure was covered with grit, sand, and even barnacles so it had been out in the ocean for a while. It was missing hooks and was in pretty bad shape. But it was still a good fishing lure and could work to snag bunker and attract striped bass and bluefish.
So I took the lure home and cleaned it up, removing all the gunk from it. I attached new hooks to it and a new leader line. A day or so later I took the lure down to the beach to try it out. Carefully I tied it to my main fishing line. I then stepped into the surf, took a deep breath and cast the lure as far as I could.
And wouldn’t you know it. My line broke and I stood there watching the lure sail off and plunk into the sea. Ugh. Luckily I had other lures with me but for the next hour I kept thinking of what the found lure might have actually caught.
Was this a thought-changing moment? Nope. That happened the next week. I was surfcasting again, early in the morning, with only seagulls keeping me company. I stood knee-high in the surf, enjoying the beat of the waves, the blue of the early morning sky, and the sense of peace and calm.
Suddenly I heard, “Hello, hello!” Turning around I saw a stranger walking towards me. But not just any stranger. Remember that this was a beach. The man coming in my direction had a long beard, wearing a turban, a long-sleeved shirt and full-length dress slacks. The only way you could tell he was on a beach was that he was bare-footed.
“Who the heck is this guy?”, I said to myself. As he got closer to me I saw that he was holding something in his hand. “Great”, I thought. A guy in a turban is going to try to rob me on a beach. What did he think he was going to get? A fishing pole!
When he was a few feet from me he held up his hand and said, “I found this on the beach. Would you like it?” You guessed it. He was holding up a spiffy, new, shiny fishing lure. Not the one I lost but an even better one.
I said, “Thanks a lot. That’s a really good lure.” I then introduced myself. “I’m Neil. Nice to meet you.” He replied, “I’m Goron and it’s nice to meet you.” We then wished each other a good day and before he left I stuck out my hand, he took it in both of his, and said, “God bless you.”
I’ll let you think about it for a moment.