How many times does the experience exceed the goal? I've been asking that question a lot recently. Mostly because I just last week returned from my third managed deer hunt without filling my tag. (That's without coming home with a deer for all of you non-hunters.) That amounts to enough cash to have taken my family on several trips to the mountains or to the gulf. It would be easy say that it has all been a waste of money. However, that would not be true. Far from it.
Life is more than just achieving. It's about trying. It's about the lessons you learn along the way. It's about meeting interesting people you would have never met if you had not gone on the adventure. It's about learning how you react when frustrated as well as when things go as planned. Life is not like a "whisper show." That's what a person at church called hunting shows on TV since the hunters always whisper into the microphone as they watch monster sized buck walk only a few feet away. In a thirty minute program they can see dozens of "shooter" bucks, tell a few jokes, sell broadheads and camo blankets, and finally harvest a once in a lifetime trophy deer. What they don't show you are the hours upon hours of sitting in an un-natural position twenty feet in the air seeing only the occasional gray squirrel.
Life is much more like those tedious hours of unseen footage than the few moments of heart pounding excitement. There are a lot more nights seeing nothing than there are spying the 12 pointer walk into the crosshairs of our scope. Our lives consist of those long hours when nothing out of the ordinary occurs. When frustration exceeds excitement. It's coming home from work to the family and a simple meal and a reality show.
That's ok with me. Well, it might as well be, because that's the way it is. What a shame if you and I only appreciated the moments of sheer excitement, pleasure or pain. How much we would miss along the way. J Michael Straczynski recently penned the story to a Superman comic. Superman is leaning against a tree as this red tinted blur is seen streaking from the distant horizon into the frame with the Man of Steel. The wind caused by the supersonic figure caused Superman's cape to twist in the wind. In the next frame we learn that was The Flash speeding by and he has come back to stand next to Clark Kent leaning against the tree. Superman asks The Flash, "When you run across the country like that, what do you see?" The Flash responds, "When I'm running flat out, I see what I figure you see when you're flying up there at a bazillion times the speed of sound. I see a blur. Unless I make an effort to see the details. Anything else?" The Flash asks Superman. "No, that's all. Thanks." The Flash speeds away in a cloud of dust as Superman walks slowly out of the frame.
Superman had come to the place where he realized that "flying up there at a bazillion times the speed of sound" was not the best way to experience life. In that I finally have something in common with the man of steel. We both need to slow down and enjoy the experience no matter how mundane it may seem.