No Shortcuts Along Life’s Journey


One of my favorite ancient parables involves the story of an indigent woman whose children were constantly starving. One day, she came home with an egg. Lovingly, she gathered her excited children and said: “Dear children, you have nothing to worry about. I found this egg. But listen to me closely. Even though we may we hungry, we are not just going to eat it. Instead, I’m going to give it to my neighbor, so that his hen can hatch the egg. Then, we will let the chick grow up—but even then, we won’t eat it. Instead, we will wait for it to lay more eggs and when those eggs hatch, we will have many chickens. Eventually, we’ll sell the chickens and buy a nice cow. But we won’t eat the cow either. We’ll simply wait for it to birth its calves and afterwards we will sell the cows and buy a large field. And because of our patience, we’ll be rewarded with bounty and we won’t be hungry anymore.” As she talked, the woman got so animated that the egg fell from her hands and broke.
Many of us love to travel. When we visit new places, we often reflect on our lives and compare them to those of others. In this way, traveling often becomes more about self-discovery than about seeing new sights.
Our lives are a journey of introspection and reflection. In order to have a fulfilling life in the present, we must reflect on our past. Imagine a loving parent whose son becomes ill and needs to be taken to a doctor in a far-off land. Once cured, the parent and the son return home. As they travel from place to place, the parent reminds the son of all that transpired on their journey. “Here we rested, here you became very sick, here you had a headache. Nothing was accidental or pure chance. Every step along the way was essential. The journey was just as important as our arrival and there could be no shortcuts along the way.”

Often in life, we are so focused on our goals, that we fail to cherish the process of getting there. We must remember that our experiences are just as important as where they lead us to. Sometimes, we need to take our eye off the prize and think about all that has happened in the course of our journeys.

Our lives are transient and ephemeral. To really treasure them properly we must value the in between moments too. Because it’s not just about planning for the future—it’s about living the present fully as well.

In today’s fast-paced world we are constantly looking for shortcuts. We always seem to be in a rush to accomplish our goals in the quickest and most efficient way possible. Often, we are so busy planning ahead that we forget to focus on where we are right now. Eleanor Roosevelt said: “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why we call it ‘The Present’.”

Remember, life is like rope: you can grab only the piece in front of you. With that in mind, take hold of the present, appreciate it completely and only then begin to plan for the future.

Leave a Reply