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Our Most Important Things

So easily forgotten are the most important things
Like the melody and the moonlight in your eyes
And a song that lasts forever, keeps on gettin’ better
All the time
— Keb’ Mo, Life Is Beautiful

Walking a lot of miles lately, I’ve come to see the town I live in at ground level, turning corners into places I haven’t been in a long time, or ever before. I see the changing nature of things, and I’m reminded of a time not so long ago when it was my own children at beginner’s summer soccer camp or at baseball practice. These stages of life fly by quickly, but the next generation steps right on to that field to build someone else’s memories. Our own will inevitably fade, perhaps, but the foundation laid in time and presence is strong.

I walk to cover miles, deliberate and at the fastest pace I can sustain for 5-7 miles. I’m not a speed walker but I have a long stride that helps when the aim is fitness and mileage. Countering this pace, a couple of times a day I take the new puppy for a walk. She’s finding her courage in a strange new world, and the pace is much slower than my normal stride. My favorite Navy pilot once told me that when you’re walking a dog you aren’t walking, the dog is walking. You’re just keeping it company while it experiences the world. So rushing that experience does the dog a disservice, but it does for us too. Like those children growing up way too quickly if we aren’t paying attention, puppies grow up too. Embrace the pace you find yourself in, for one day it will change again.

For all the changes happening all around us, some things remain the same. It’s easy to forget the people and routines that hold us to solid ground when life does cartwheels. They offer something tangible and meaningful for us in good times and bad, through the dizzying pace of rapid change and the dullest days of stagnation and limited progress. We ought to celebrate our quiet anchors, even as we explore the changes life takes us through. They are our most important things as we sort out the changes and find our stride for what comes next.

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