I am a “stop and photograph the wildflowers” kind of girl.
My wife (Thank you, Washington, DC.) Kristin is a “stop and film the falcons” kind of girl.
Together, with assorted others, we are raising two amazing kids. She is shaping up to be a “stop and ask a bunch of questions” kind of girl. While he long ago established his identity as a “stop and gather random pieces of earth for your collection” kind of boy.
Last Sunday, on our way home from church (our first Sunday visit in more months than I care to count), Kristin gasped, “Kestrel falcon! Kestrel falcon! Kestrel falcon!” She loves them. She loves many, many animals, but she REALLY loves kestrel falcons. When she was a young child, as I understand it, every Christmas and birthday list included a bunch of critters and something she could kill herself on.
Kristin’s Birthday List
Irish Wolfhond (it was the biggest dog in the encyclopedia – yes, she read the encyclopedias)
Can’t you see why I love her? She’s more fun than a barrel full of capuchin monkeys.
So, out of nowhere, she whipped the car across four temporarily open lanes of traffic and parked on the side of the road to watch this thing that looked to me, for all the world, like every the other bird, and it thrilled me. I love Kristin’s willingness to follow her heart, to stop and admire and videotape that falcon for just a few moments because I believe those things we love, our passions, are full of purpose. I believe we are designed with these passions which, if we follow them, help guide us to the experiences we are supposed to have in this life.
On the day in question, the pastor delivered a remarkably inspiring message and Kristin suggested we stop and wait for a copy of the service so we could listen again and share it with others. As we started to leave, CDs in hand, I was stopped in my tracks by a sudden “need” to talk to the pastor’s wife. I said to Kristin, “Wait, I think I need to talk to Paula” and then immediately withdrew my request. “No, never mind, I will just catch her next time.” It didn’t feel “right” to delay us further just for what felt like a silly whim; honestly it didn’t feel important enough to drag everybody back in with me.
Kristin’s impulse to wait for a CD and her willingness to surrender to her love of kestrel falcons probably put us about 13 or so minutes behind our original schedule. She single-handedly kept the four of us from having an experience from which I feel certain we would have never recovered.
I looked up from my book in time to see commotion under the bridge where the Natchez Trace Parkway crosses over Highway 96. Trying to comprehend the scene as we approached, I saw police lights and a local news vehicle but I couldn’t find the source of the problem. There were no smashed up cars or broken glass, not even an ambulance. There were just three police cars forming a protective barrier around the “accident,” the evidence of which was covered with a strange yellow tarp.
My mind was screaming, “What the hell is going on?” I couldn’t understand… until I looked up and realized we were directly under that beautiful, enormous bridge. Someone had jumped to their death… almost certainly about 13 minutes before.
This is why you should stop and smell the roses or watch the horses or call a friend or help someone in need or laugh at your child’s joke or buy a bag full of food for someone on the side of the road who looks hungry or whatever your heart whispers for you to do.
Just do it. Listen to the whispers of your heart. They will lead you where you need to go, when you need to be there… or keep you from doing something or seeing something you simply can’t handle.
Photo credit: Mr. Phil Price via Flickr