Monday, April 11, 2005

Hannah, Emmily and Nicholas (19 months) in the Hoedl neighborhood "bobsled"

It's a sight to behold; at least something that most cars will slow down on the street to witness: a middle-aged man taking his triplets and their bobsled-styled stroller (see above) for a midday walk. And this second time around of raising infants (and especially triplets), I've learned a few new things about "strolling."

With a single stroller, it is easy to maneuver turns by simply pulling back, lifting the stroller on to the back wheels and pivoting. With the triplet stroller, it is much harder to turn and better for you and the stroller to lift up and pivot on the front tires.

With a single stroller, there is much less items to carry and it takes very little time to place your child in the stroller and away you go. With triplets, a walk with the stroller is short of what I call our "daily expedition." We have to double check our equipment and supplies and prepare in advance to get three children ready, dressed and into the stroller.

With a single stroller, the weight of your child is evenly distributed. With a triplet stroller, you need to always be mindful (especially if one of your children is much heavier [Nicholas] than the other two) of initial placement in the stroller. Looking at the picture above, I always place the first child in the middle seat, then the second child in the back seat and the final child in the front seat. This prevents any possibility of tipping the bobsled.

And finally, with a single stroller, it is easy to keep an aerial view of your child, should they decide to throw their drink cup or pacifier out of the stroller. With a triplet stroller, it is a constant process of looking ahead to see where you are steering and preparing your next maneuver, while every so often taking a glance back at the sidewalk from where you've come so as to see what you may have left behind (i.e. drink cups, pacifiers, blankets, toys, etc.). And it is here where I would like our Morning Walk to begin - so come join me with the triplets and the bobsled...

It is not an easy or slow-pace Life, my friend. But as it is often said, we all have the ability to decide our life's speed and direction. It's a clear case of intentionality. And yet, even with all the intentionality we can muster, we often times end our days as we began them: pressing on, pressing on, pressing on...

Each of our days - if well-lived - can be full of adventure and challenge; and too much information and history to journal about each day. We quickly size up our oncoming day and decide what we'll mentally and physically need to survive and, if we're not careful, we bring with us all the additional baggage from the previous day. That day's journey - our personal mission - is our bobsled, my friend - sometimes cumbersome, loaded with supplies/equipment, susceptible to tipping and not easily seen from an aerial view.

During our day (with its fast pace and cumbersome movement), it can be helpful to every so often take a moment to glance back at from where we came. How is our day going? Did we unintentionally drop something important along Life's journey?

Today I pose simple questions for you to use to ponder each day as it progresses - preparing for what's ahead, while also focusing on what was left behind. It could easily be a moment of reflection for the middle of your day or the end of your day...

  • Looking forward, what is just up ahead that I need to be aware of to protect my valuable cargo (my personal mission)?
  • Looking forward, do I have all the necessary (but not extra) equipment and supplies needed to address my day? At this point, what is missing?
  • Looking forward, where am I heading on my journey for today? And knowing I'll eventually end up back home, what do I hope and plan to experience today?
  • Looking back, what is it that I've recently lost on my journey and need to recover?
  • Looking back, what is it that I've dropped and don't need to go back and get?
  • Looking back, what did I do that was worthwhile?
  • Looking back, who did I meet and was the outcome of each encounter? Was it what I had hoped?
  • Looking back, who is better off because of what I did or said?
  • Looking back, who is worse off because of what I did or said?

My friend, I've lost pacifiers (too numerous to count) and drink cups along my days' journeys. And I've seen fruit snacks and treats fall by the wayside of the bobsled and let them go. Many of these items can be easily replaced and extras can always be brought on the journey. But there are some things - like a very special blanket - that we just have to go back and find. What is your blanket? What is so special in your life that you would stop your journey to go back and get it? A relationship? A faith life? An outlook? Knowing what that "special blanket" is for you can make all the difference on your journey today.

In your daily journey, my friend, keep intentionally pushing onward and enjoy the Life that is ahead. But also be intentional about glancing back so as to never leave that special item on the pathway behind you.

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