I have to make the most of where I am if I am going to learn to enjoy the journey.
My fascination with the circus goes back almost farther than I can remember. The small, traveling circus parked next to my grandfather’s house and I loved seeing the animals and the performers.
I read a story about Gunther Gabel Williams and the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus when I was in high school and my fascination grew. It crushed me when Williams decided to retire, but I was fortunate to be in a position to usher for his farewell tour in Mobile, Alabama. I saw that show a half dozen times, went backstage to meet many of the performers, and came away certain that I needed to be in the circus.
Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." - Psalm 37: 3 - 4
By coincidence – if you believe in those things – the priest at the church I was attending had once been the priest for the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus. He didn’t discourage my desire to run off and join the circus, but he did recommend that I focus on Clown College.
Yes, my priest at the time told me that I needed to be a clown.
The practical side of me stepped in and I stayed in school. When I returned home, I made it a point to take my nephews and cousins to the circus every year. My own children attended each year as well.
By coincidence – if you believe in those things – the circus came around the week of or right before my birthday every year. It became a regular celebration to attend the circus. One of the best additions to the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus was the pre-show. It allowed attendees to become part of the excitement. My oldest son balanced on a ball, my youngest son took center stage to show off his dance moves, they all dressed up and had fun. I have an amazing photo of the three boys and their dad all staring up in amazement as one of the acts flies over our heads.
It was a treasure and a treat – ALWAYS.
In 2016, Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus retired all their elephants. I don’t know all the details, nor do I want to know. What I do know is that in May 2016 the elephants retired and in May 2017 Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus will be closing their doors for good.
I read the story and knew without a doubt it had to be fake news. It HAD to be fake news. It only took a moment of research to discover it was not fake news. It was real no matter how much I didn’t want it to be.
The circus will be in town for the week before my birthday, again – as always. I had already thought of surprising my family with tickets, only now I knew that it was a necessity, not a desire. This would be the last time the circus would come to town.
My search for tickets left me with a sour taste in my mouth. The seats we normally would have purchased – near the floor but not on the floor – would now cost . . . well, more than I would ever consider spending (and that is just for the tickets).
Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you."
I went through a range of emotions – shocked, devastated, frustrated, annoyed, and then calm.
My husband and I had spent the previous hours playing cards with our sons. We laughed together. We teased each other. We created memories . . . all for the cost of TIME.
Yes, I love the circus, and I will always love the circus, but the real memories are made being together no matter where that together occurs.
Make the Most of Where You Are
1. See what you have instead of focusing on what you want. It's easy to get caught up in what was or what may be - but if I want to enjoy where I am then I have to make the purposeful choice to focus on what is right in front of me. When I am focused on the here and now then I put myself in the position to make the most of where I am and what I have.
2. Take the time to be with others. - it is ALL about relationships. Everything worth doing and worth being has its foundation on relationships. I need to make the choice to spend time with others so that I can grow up those relationships.
3. Capture the memories – take pictures, but also right them down. I take pictures, but I also try to write notes that capture the essence of the moment so that I can include those notes in the photo albums or in scrapbooks. Not only will I be in a position to remember the words, but others will have the opportunity to enjoy the memories as well.
4. Stop looking outside for the answer. There is only one place that will help me enjoy where I am and that is me. It is within me right now to enjoy the journey or to continue in the struggle - no matter what the circumstance or situations.
5. Do it now. Now is the only time I have - EVER. If I don't do it now then I will miss the opportunity to get it done.
Special events and experiences are fun - but they are not the end all of the journey. They are they are the gravy. The meat of it all is what is in my life now and what I am doing with it. I have to learn how to make the most if I am going to get the most.
How do you make the most of this journey? I would love to hear your thoughts. Share your comments below.