Updated: Jun 22, 2018
Over this past weekend (March 2nd -4th) I had the privilege of returning to Ft Lewis Army Installation which is now called Joint Base Lewis-McChord to sell copies of my book. For those that do not know from 2000 to 2005 I was stationed at Ft Lewis during my Air Force joint-service Army days. Until this month I hadn't been back on Ft Lewis since then (Sept 2005 to be exact). To say it was odd being back to a place that meant so much to me and my career was an understatement. It felt good to be home again.
In any case, here I was standing at the front of the post exchange smiling, nodding and greeting who ever had the time to look at the guy with the books who was standing in front of the sushi stand. I stood and watched people for 20 total hours. Due to the Girl Scouts setting up shop in front of me my connections with people took a major hit but that rant is for another day. By the end of my weekend I had 20 people purchase my book. I am grateful for all that did and humbled every time someone chooses to read my words.
Now, you may think that this blog is about how wonderful my book is or how people should buy it. You'd be right and wrong. This is about much more.
The lady in this picture happened to be exiting the exchange with her cart. As she feverishly typed on her phone she hadn't noticed I was even standing next to her or the display of books with my face on it. In true Sean fashion I chimed in, "You going to stop in front of my table you can at least say hello!" Startled she looked up and saw the big jolly guy I am standing in front of a stack of books. She laughed and decided to pull her cart on over and asked what my book was about.
Now, if you have ever heard me talk about my book or asked me about it you will no doubt have heard something of this nature.
Her: What's your book about?
Her: OK, well tell me about it.
Me: Here's what I do. Before I tell you about it I'll ask you to open it to any page and read one of the passages. Then I'll tell you what my book is about.
Her: Any passage? (most don't know the format of my book at this point).
She then opens the book and reads one of the passages.
Now, you should also know that to date that I have only had one person not have a reaction to doing this little trick of randomly reading a passage. In most cases, some people buy it based off what was read and some simply say that it was good message or thought and keep about his/her day. Most people though have a reaction and 75% or so will actually buy it after reading the random passage. Those are pretty good stats in my little mind for sure. Back to this young lady.
As she flipped to her page she started to read. Two lines in she quietly says to herself, "God bless you!" As she finishes reading she looks at me and says that (this happens a lot mind you), "This is exactly what I needed to hear today." The post was on being patient with people. She had been going through some stuff and her patience had been tested. She needed a reminder. For her, God gave her that reminder. She bought my book that day. She asked if she could share the story of why she bought it, the passage that nearly made her cry and if she could have a hug before she left. Of course, I said yes but requested she take a picture with me since she happened to be the first person to buy my book at Ft Lewis. After the quick selfie she said she was glad I had said something and that she had stopped in front of me to finish her text. It made me think, how much do we miss because we are too busy looking down, in a rush or know exactly what we (think) we need? This is the reason for today's blog.
In this world we are in a rush to get to this point or that point. We push through each other as if we were hanging plastic slabs over the entry to a cold beverage room in a store. We don't care about the slab just that we get our cold beer. If the beer was warm then we would care about those plastic slabs that wasn't doing its job. That is life as we have made it. Instant pictures, instant messages, instant everything but very little connection. We look past each other. And, truth be told, who can blame us? In this instant gratification world everyone is selling something, wanting something or expecting something. That is the nature of the beast. For me, I don't mind if people don't want to buy my book. Hell, they don't have to talk to me at all about it but I do mind people walking by and not even saying hello as they do. Simple connection.
See we miss so much because (like the bottom picture I took and chose) we are on a road focused one way into a fog. We can't see the amazing around us because we never take a chance on things outside or zones of comfort. More importantly we need to know that what we know, believe and understand are subject to change as we learn more, evolve as a person and explore things outside of said comfort zone.
So don't be in such a rush to dismiss that old person who simply wants to chat. You never know what life lesson he/she can give you or vice versa. Don't look past the waves on the coast while you are rushing to get to a show on tv because that little break could be the very stress relief you've been needing and didn't know it. Talk to strangers, share stories, embrace the differences in people and for the love of Pete (anyone know him? I don't :D) LOOK UP!
The winds of time will tick by and in time the grains of sand will diminish for each of us. When that last pebble trickles down into the abyss let it not be filled with regret and unfulfilled adventure but instead let it radiate a life of exploring, loving, laughing and, yes, adventure my Friends!