What’s REALLY important?

As we move through life, we make decisions every day as to what is important and what is not important.  Is it age or experience or a life changing event 0r simply a greater level of awareness that causes us to re-evaluate our priorities? 

I settled myself into my seat on the plane on Sunday as I was coming to Lubbock, Texas and was ready to get started on my next paper focused on the impact that servant-leadership would have on restorative justice. I was just getting ready to highlight some important information on the article I was immersed in, when a gentleman sat down in the seat next to me.  “So, where are you headed?” he asked.  And before I knew it I was engaged in a conversation with a man and his wife that I had never met before and would probably never see again and who had no significance in my life— but who now took priority over me getting my research done!  A few years ago, I would have gracefully bailed out of that conversation or conveniently provided a one word answer without asking a follow up question.  Somehow through my travels, I have found that people are more important than tasks and you just never know who you might meet and what impact you might have on them, or they might have on you.  My paper would be there when I arrived at my destination, but the opportunity to engage with this couple may not ever come again.  So we talked, and mused and shared and revealed tidbits of our lives as if we were old friends. 

I was reminded again of the importance of awareness and seizing the moment to influence the life of another and to allow that person to potentially have influence on my life.  Jerry and I talked the whole way from Tampa to Memphis.  His daughter is training to walk the Appalachian Trail- something that I have in recent years thought would need to be added to my bucket list.  I learned about new places in Utah that would take my breath away and we shared the excitement of our travels.  In one respect our conversation was mindless and in another unexpected way, it held a level of significance.  It reminded me that I am a part of something bigger than just my goals and my needs.  I am a part of the experience for others.    

To Jerry and Deb from Utah, I enjoyed meeting with you and learning about your joy-filled life and the children and grandchildren that make you light up with happiness.  Thanks for the reminder that seizing the moment to engage with others sets us apart, makes life more interesting and gives us an opportunity to build bridges and communities that would otherwise go untouched.  Thank you.

Did you stop to enjoy the unexpected smile of another today?  How did you make a difference in someone else’s life? How did someone else make a difference in your life today?      


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