The Great Smoky Mountains were in full color. The air was crisp with a slight chill. I loved the fall trips to the Smokies. We always made a point of doing things together as a family. One of my uncles came along for the trip this year and like the rest of our family he was raised on a tobacco farm and experienced being poor growing up as a child.
My uncle had done well in life, buying a lot of acres of forest land and started a timber company. He may not have been wealthy yet but he was heading that way. I had just started my career in Retail and I thought I would spend a little time picking his brain. I had some good forward momentum going but I really looked up to him. When I asked him what I needed to do he just sighed and became silent.
We were on a trail to the top of Chimney Rock. It was a long walk and he was deep in thought. I just tagged along and waited. My uncles like to ponder a bit before they would answer you. It could be a few moments or weeks.
The view from the top was exhilarating. The whole family stood there quietly. It seemed wrong to even speak. This was something otherworldly, yet it was right there, right then. It was something so powerful it took away our ability to speak.
My uncle took me aside and said “you see that this is the view from the top. This is what you want. While we are here now at the top of that valley a whole new world that you have never been to is waiting for you. You can stay here at the top but know while it is an amazing view this is it. You have arrived, but across that valley lay unlimited possibilities and new experiences. Imagine a world of new and unknown experiences that are yours if you just leave the view from the top and walk across that valley. Yes, my nephew across that valley hidden in this mist is yet another mountain with a view from the top.”
Point Of View
A few weeks ago I ran into a friend of mine who asked if we might have lunch and catch up. He had worked hard all of his life and had all the benefits that success brings, several big houses across the country, an expensive car, and a Rolex. It shocked me to see how burdened and unhappy he was. He complained about everything and to be honest, I was relieved when the lunch was over. It made me think about what success really means. It made me remember this story about my uncle.
We spend a lifetime striving for all that we can get from life. Often at the expense of missing all the meaningful things that life gives us as gifts. How many times have we promised our self that we would get up early and watch a sunrise, sit out on a porch and listen to the rain or walk down a country road with someone you love with dogs in tow? We never know how many tomorrows we have left. Choose today to find those moments.