Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.
John W. Gardner
Right now, I am reading a sweet book called Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman. In it, she describes a water park filled with lifeguards who are each in charge of their small section of about eight feet of the pool making sure nobody drowns or gets hurt in their small section of eight feet of pool. Eight feet only…no more no less. These lifeguards never look into anyone else’s eight foot patch of water because their eyes on solely fixed on their patch of water. They have a job to do that is right in front of them.
Her point is we should all just focus on our own eight foot patch of water…no more no less.
We should be careful not to peek over at another’s patch of water and compare ourselves to them and think we are less than or not doing enough compared to them.
I like this way of thinking…this puts things in perspective and paints a doable picture for me.
Maybe I’m simple like that…..no scratch that. I am simple like that.
I like to picture myself in charge of a small patch of water…no more and no less.
It helps me narrow my thoughts, ideas, dreams, and responsibilities.
It helps me to focus and to keep things in focus.
I’m one who can stretch my patch of water very easily and I’ll forget my reality and get lost in my dreamland that unfortunately will get me nowhere…fast.
Our patch of water may change depending on our season of life. Mine just changed a little as my youngest started kindergarten this year.
So, how do I want my patch of water to look like right now? Who and what is a part of my patch?
I always want it to be full of hope for moving forward, to be full of grace for myself and others, to be full of love and beauty, I don’t want it to be filled with eyes of correction but connection and acceptance and imperfection.
I want to be picky about what is in my patch of water because seasons only last for so long. What is my focus? Is it building a legacy of love and moving forward in a direction I want to go and bringing my loved ones along, too?
I want to be picky how I spend my time and who I spend it with by asking myself “What kind of busy am I?”
If I have prayerfully considered what and who is in my patch of water, I will have a greater chance of filling my small patch of water with the most important people to me, my gifts and talents will be used, and I will use my yeses more wisely and without too much stress or strain. Eight feet of life is not that big, thankfully. I have to be careful what I put into that small of a space. I can’t overcrowd my space. Sometimes, what I have in my own eight feet of water would be better off in someone else’s patch of water instead.
I can’t squeeze more than one season into my small patch of water either. What if I miss what I am to be learning during this season of my life due to overcrowding or overcommitting? Or, what if I miss a season of a loved one in my small pool of water that I will never get back?
So, this is for me to decide. I will carefully choose my patch of water and once I have chosen, I will be free to be. It was my choice and I chose with intention and with discernment and lots of love.
What a gift to open each day and each new season of life. Let’s keep our eyes on our patches of water, but let’s not forget to glance over at each other and cheer one another on every now and then, too.
Who and what will fill your small eight foot patch of water during this season of your life?