My daughter, Kylia, has a wonderful friend, named Megan. Actually, she is a friend to our entire family, but she and Kylia are especially close. Megan spent much of this past summer in eastern Pennsylvania, as a camp counselor. What sounded like a fun and interesting opportunity turned out to be a great learning experience, much like discovering that a house advertised as a "great starter home" is actually one that needs about $40,000 in repairs.
The job was one that required long days, infinite patience and steely endurance. Although most of the counselors were nice to Meg, they did not all share her values, or her sincere desire to provide a great experience for the young campers. Some of the camp activities, such as requiring 6 year olds to "get a date" to go to the camp dance, seemed less than necessary. Adding a nearly camp-wide outbreak of head lice to this combination, made this summer job more than a little challenging. Oh, how Megan longed for home sweet home.
Finally, the big day arrived, and Megan's parents arrived to take her home. She couldn't wait to be back in her own house, with the family she loved. She was thrilled to see her two brothers, and her own room, and her clean, comfy bed.
Soon, after Meg's homecoming, she went to Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center, where she volunteers each week. As soon as she exited the car, she took a deep breath, and sighed a happy and peaceful sigh...."Ahhhh...." Nothing could be better than the smell of horses (to a horse-lover, that is.)
I smiled when Megan's mom told me that story. I smiled again, a few days later, when I read an article about a man who attended a busy convention. One afternoon, everyone was given a few hours to unwind after a particularly hectic meeting. Most went to the pool, or to the golf course for a quick 9 holes. This gentleman decided to take a walk. His walk led him to the nearby stables. He had the same reaction that Megan did... a peaceful sigh. His mind was flooded with memories of growing up on his parents' farm. He remembered the feeling of the horses' soft noses nuzzling his hand to get a lump of sugar. He remembered quiet afternoons under a big oak tree, where he heard only the whooshing of the horses' tails as they chased those pesky flies. He remembered brushing the horses, and the gentle rhythm of their gait, when he rode. He returned to the convention in a far more relaxed state than most of the other attendees.
All of us have things that bring that feeling of peace and contentment. I love to sit near the ocean or the lake, or near a waterfall, and hear the water crashing on the shore or the rocks. Ahhhhh...
Maybe you love to rest your cheek against the downy softness of a newborn's hair, or to climb to the top of a mountain and drink in the beauty that surrounds you. Maybe the aroma of homemade bread baking in the oven brings that blissful smile to your face.
It doesn't always have to be something quiet or soft. I remember many days of sighing deeply as I crested a hill near Lexington, Ohio, to hear the roar of the racecars at Mid-Ohio Race Car Course. And the smell of those fumes..... Ahhhhh... OK, not everyone will agree with that one, but, for me, it was wonderful!
When you have one of those days, or weeks, or months of madness and mayhem, take the time to find one of the things that you love to do, or see, or hear, or smell, or taste, or touch, and savor it! Ahhhhhh...
Now don't you feel better?
"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man."
"All I pay my psychiatrist is the cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day."
~ Author Unknown