I was a tourist, strolling along the shore of Lake Michigan, when I spied two dots of yellow bobbing on the water. Two women, their bright yellow kayaks enclosing them like fins, came ashore. One of the women--Louise--explained how she started kayaking.
"I was an over-achieving workaholic, climbing the ladder of success, working 70-hours a week, with no outside life. And then I got cancer."
After a year of treatment, Louise had a "a whole different perspective." She began working reasonable hours and spending her weekends outdoors. Hiking. Camping. Eventually, kayaking.
"My illness made me realize there's more to life than business achievement. There is a profound Mystery larger than and I. In my kayak, I feel as if I'm part of the boat, the water, the sky, the whole Mystery." She raised her arms, brought them down, raised them again. "I give thanks as I paddle."
"Paddle prayer?" I said.
She smiled. "A good name for it."
So often we get sucked into the tyranny of the urgent. Sometimes it takes a crisis to remind us that --no matter how hard we might try--we are not in complete control of life's flow. Are you staying balanced? Don't over-focus on career.
The next time someone says to you, "Don't work too hard," why not reply, "I won't."
Take time to experience--and appreciate--life's Mystery.