I just spent an entire weekend with friends and family in a beautiful resort location in South Boston, Virginia. Before I tell you what the weekend taught me, let me also tell you that the thought of losing an entire weekend of work and errands had panicked me just a little bit. As a small business owner, I use my weekends to do everything that didn’t get done during the week. But, this was my nephew’s wedding, so I packed up my gear and my family and we made the trip.
Something strange happened along the way. The further I got from the office and the house, the more I relaxed. My foot lightened up on the accelerator, and I started smiling at people in convenience stores. I purchased a real Coke instead of a Diet Coke, and I ate Hot Tamales instead of an apple. This might not seem like the healthiest choices, but I started to unwind, and it felt good.
Arriving at our destination of the Berry Hill resort (accompanying photo is by Luster Studios) I started thinking – “What are we going to do out here?” I knew we had the rehearsal dinner that evening, but the wedding didn’t start until 4:00 on Sunday. Many of you will understand the ridiculous fact that I had packed my laptop and brought two briefcases full of work so I wouldn’t feel my time was wasted.
As we checked into our room with hardwood floors, a four-poster bed and a down comforter, I noticed the French doors that led out onto our own brick veranda. We overlooked some of the 650 acres, filled with Magnolia trees, beautiful oaks, and incredible flowers. I sat down and sighed. I grabbed one of my business books, and started to read. This plan lasted about five minutes. My phone rang and it was my extended family, wanting to know what I was doing.
I went to their room and played with my six-month-old great nephew, his smile lighting up the room and my heart. I laughed with my seventy-six-year-old mom, and scurried about with my sister trying to make last minute preparations. That evening I sat at a table and actually talked with people about their lives, their stories, their own weddings. Everyone seemed relaxed and interested in what was being said. Most refreshingly, nobody was talking about how to make money in this economy. They were just enjoying each other.
The wedding was held outside on a spectacular day, the bride was radiant, my nephew was happy, and friends were enveloped in the peace of nature. Despite the woman behind me that took at least four thousand pictures during the ceremony, I found incredible contentment in that moment. Holding my husband’s hand, I realized that our lack of gratitude is directly related to a lack of silence. If we were a little quieter each day, I truly believe we’d realize how amazing life is.
So, this week as we talk about living a life of no regrets, I’d like to suggest that for a few minutes you get quiet. Stop thinking about money and how to make a living. Instead, look into the eyes of those you love. Listen to their stories and share your own. Laugh with them. Believe me, it will be in these moments that you remember why life is a gift. We make ourselves a slave to time when we try to fill it with shallow desires and ego-filled aspirations. Time becomes a true friend when you realize that it can be filled with the connection with those you most love.
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