In my book, “An Intimate Collision,” I tell the story of a blind man named Doug. Doug lived his life walking through it touching, smelling, holding and savoring everything along the way. He savored the journey because his handicap left him with little alternative. Doug did not live for great goals. Rather, he lived for small things. And to this day I think of Doug when I need to “slow down and smell the roses.” A quote from the chapter about Doug reads as follows:
“And that is how I met him that first time. Lost in his crystalline eyes, he placed his hands on my face to discern my features, to paint a picture with his fingertips. He used his fingers to bring patterns to the blackness and to set against its loneliness something other than the blackness. It was in that first meeting that his fingers saw something in my face. His fingers somehow ascertained much more than his eyes could have. From that moment forward, Doug would be drawn to me. He would become a soul mate, a connection that was made in his blindness.”
We live in a rush. A total rush. We always moving. Most times the places that we’re moving to are nothing more than the place from which we’ll move to the next place. And then the next place becomes the place to launch to next place yet again. And the cycle repeats itself every time. And in the end, we might have covered a lot of ground…but to where? And in covering all that ground in a way that’s just covering ground, how much did we miss in the covering?
There’s the old saying, ‘Stop and smell the roses.” It’s a good saying. But maybe we need to “Stop and look into people’s eyes.” Maybe we need to pay attention to the people around us. I mean really pay attention. Plumb the depths of their souls. Touch their hearts. Intersect their minds. Dig down and touch the periphery of their humanity for once. And in doing so, maybe we’ll start to understand that maybe the place that we should be going that’s a real destination is into the life of the person sitting next us, not the next place that lies somewhere out beyond us. If there’s someplace that we should be rushing that’s actually a place, maybe it’s there.
It’s not about the goal. Rather, it’s about the journey. For the goal is a single event, where the journey is the whole of the event. As such, we need to stop and smell the roses because the smell of victory goes stale quickly, while the smell of the roses stays sweet forever.