Walk With Me
"We're all just walking each other home." - Ram Dass
I’ve written before that I believe people, and the relationships we have with them, are the center of everything that matters. That the way you love is the most important part of who you are and what you do. In times where I'm looking for direction, I remind myself of the following quote, found in the book, The Shack:
“...if anything matters then everything matters. Because you are important, everything you do is important. Every time you forgive, the universe changes; every time you reach out and touch a heart or a life, the world changes; with every kindness and service, seen or unseen, [God's] purposes are accomplished and nothing will be the same again.”― Wm. Paul Young
The Quest for Impact started as a means to intentionally uncover purposeful experiences that happened to me and that transformed my heart. It was driven by a desire for me to document a very personal journey as I set out to gain new wisdom and perspective from new cultures and new people. I was looking for the world to show me my place in the stars; my passions, my purpose. I guess you could say I was looking at the world in terms of what she could offer me, not so much about what I could offer her.
Since then, I’ve learned that the Quest isn’t really about me, but about everyone else. I thought that a life well lived would be an exhaustive list of the moments I've been writing about, and partially it is, but I'm realizing now, that to truly live a good life means you've left an impact on another person’s Quest. Your Quest for Impact— your journey— is simply about taking the time to walk other people home. The impact part really isn't for you, it's for them. Theirs, is to walk you home just the same.
Here’s what I believe about walking with a purpose...
1) Everyone is lost.
I often wonder if there will ever be an age where everything feels figured out, or if we just keep passing years and showing up the best we can. I’ve started to think that the joy of life comes from the lack of knowing what way the road may turn. God knows I feel lost most of the time, especially this year.
But then I remember that I am in the company of 7-billion people who all share in the same unknown. And it’s because of this truth that we all have the unique opportunity to help one another feel less alone.
If we’re all alone, then we’re all together in that too.
I think it’s fair to say that people don’t know the exact path of their lives, they can sense a direction maybe, but never the full itinerary on how to get there. We can pretend like we have the answers and take to chance the timing of the lights, but there will always be a detour or a flat tire catching us off guard and having us look for help.
You’ll come across all sorts of souls in a lifetime, but there are only a handful meant specifically to help you navigate where it is you’re meant to end up. We follow signs and feelings like road maps, and in the process, we find our people who keep us company, and they are the one's who make us feel found.
2) Every stranger is a friend.
I know it’s a common belief to see everyone you meet as a teacher. Someone who taught you something important during a particular season of your life. Sometimes, a good lesson; other times, a hard one. Sometimes, they’re there from the first day of class until graduation; and other times, just for a semester. Either way, they help you to grow and learn. I would agree that people look a lot like teachers and messengers, I’ve had plenty of them; but I also think they look a lot like someone else… God.
I am a firm believer that people are walking doorways to Heaven and all you need to do is knock. And yet while this belief has brought me closer to some incredible strangers, I don’t know that everyone views people in the same way. So, I want to ask this question:
If this isn’t what you look for in a stranger, do you know how different your life will become if you chose to see every person you talk to in a day, as the front door to a conversation with your creator? If you were consciously aware that God stood before you, inside the house that is them?
I’d like to believe that the world as a whole would become a much better place if we all treated one another as if we were in the presence of our maker. If you chose to believe that too, would you begin to respond differently to those you didn’t agree with? Would you choose different words? Give more of your time?
It saddens me to think of all the strangers I’ve overlooked without taking the time to truly see them for who they are. People are complicated and judgmental, but I am too.
In the words of Pastor Craig Groschel, “we judge others by their actions while judging ourselves by our intentions.” We withhold grace because we keep it for ourselves. But grace isn’t something to hold, it’s something to hand out. Jesus taught me that.
1 John 4:12 says, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.”
When you pass someone on the side of the road, or stand behind them in line at the grocery store, or sit next to them in the office, or eat lunch at the table beside them, I hope you remember that you likely have more in common with them than you may initially think. God dwells within you, as you. God dwells within them, as them.
If nothing else, take a chance on them. Knock on the door and recognize that the two of you share the same house guest.
I’m sure, he’d happily let in a familiar face.
3) You should always take in the view.
If you have the privilege of walking with someone for however long you do, I hope you take the time to stop and see the beauty of the world around you. I hope you take the time to tell them of the beauty in them. I hope you become the kind of person who inspires their awe and nurtures their wonder because there is so much beauty in the ordinary.
You should wake up for the sunrise and then lay on the grass as the stars move above you at night. You should sink your toes in the sand as you look at the vastness of the ocean, and then appreciate the might of a snow-covered mountain. You should tell people jokes and make silly faces at little kids. Eat ice cream for dinner and decorate your room with sweet photos and twinkly lights. You should share music you love with people you love and dance around your kitchen like a fool because it helps you walk better out in the real world. You should write heartfelt letters to angels you miss, the real kind, longhand. You should tell good stories and watch movies that inspire your soul enough to make you cry. You should say more when you’re nervous and put your heart out on the line over and over and over again. You should do nothing for a day, and then everything another day. Read good books and go for runs under a canopy of changing leaves. You should stand on your bed to pray because it somehow it makes you feel closer to Heaven. You should encourage your friends and stand up for people who fall. You should go on drives with the windows down and try new foods, especially the ones you can’t pronounce. You should show up grateful and kind and open. And if you try all these things, you should see that Heaven is already all around us.
And maybe, the person you’re walking with will start to see the magic too. And not just the magic in those simple things, but the magic of being a human with real thoughts and emotions and feelings. The magic of just being themselves. The magic of being alive.
“Let the wonder and beauty of your existence fall out of you everywhere, unafraid no matter who may take it in or hold it with care, let it all be unshaken by the cold.” -Unknown
Walk with me, and I will walk with you.