Each morning during the week, I drive my son to work. We sit together in silence as the car glides along the road.
On occasion he will get my attention and we will converse, hands flying while eyes try to stay directed on our path. But for the most part, this is a time of quietness.
Consequently, I have found that I am much more attuned to things that occur on the roadside.
Driving this morning, I noticed two young men walking against traffic, as they should. One tall, one shorter, they travelled together on the bridge that spans over Interstate 75.
With a quick movement, the Tall One stepped up, placing his foot on the cement railing and lifted himself into the air. The Short One, unsure, stepped away from his friend.
Arms stretched outward for the briefest moment, the Tall One stepped back down, exhilerated and breathless. He was caught up with the thrill of danger, that one fleeting second where all sense is cast aside for that feeling of doing something daring and reckless.
His friend just shook his head and kept on walking.
On the way back, I saw them again. The Tall One was articulating his point with arms gesturing through the air and he wore a look of determination and confidence on his face. I am certain that he was describing the feeling of his actions minutes before.
The Short One, arms tucked up inside of his t-shirt, bracing himself against the cold morning, moved alongside, head down and focused on the sliver of pathway he was walking on.
The difference between the two was now striking and obvious. The Tall One, wearing a long shirt and a hoodie, familiar with his surroundings, was prepared for the day. He knew what to expect. And with his knowledge, he was able to approach things differently. His basic needs had been cared for and now adventure lay before him and he was ready to breathe it deeply into his being.
The Short One counted on what had been before. Days of warm mornings and hot afternoons had lulled him into complacency. He just assumed things would be the same and that had caused him to be lacking in the things he needed.
He made me think if the story of the Ant and the Grasshopper. Relying on someone else for his information, he was keenly unprepared for, not only the weather, but for opportunities that may come his way.
Head down, arms tucked in, is no way to face the world.
Each day we are given a chance to be brave, daring, kind, compassionate, loving, charitable, and reliable. These opportunities have been prepared for us, individually, to accomplish.
The question is, will we be prepared for them when they come?