I bruised my leg today while playing football with my youngest brother. It was pretty stupid on my part, I just wasn't paying attention. He threw a bullet pass and my eyes caught sight of the ball...more than that though, it caught sight of the sky. It was full of varying jet trails and in the few seconds I was mesmerized by that, the ball got to me, hit me, and left a nice mark on me.
After a few moments of silently cursing under my breath, death threats towards my sibling (who was laughing at the thunk the ball made when it hit me), and a Lee Corso "rub some dirt on it kid" speech to myself, I resumed playing football.
That brings me to the thought of jet trails. I was pretty much consumed with that for a few precious seconds and you know what? It was really cool. The varying patterns of jet trails, how they all mingled together, how they just existed for a short time before they disappeared into the blue sky.
That's what our lives as humans are like; jet trails. Here for a few precious moments, the focus of all the attention of the world, and then we fade away into the sky around us. The time we, as human beings, spend on this Earth is so precious. There are a lot of things that last longer than us; buildings, monuments, rocks, trees, wells, fences, cars, the oceans, the pipes in your house, the sun, the myth that there's no such thing as too much of a good thing (only one exception to this rule; bacon), and more.
Seriously, horribly written songs, movies, and television shows last longer than some people on this Earth. The short amount of time we have on this planet is wired into all of us; we all know it. It's why we're all rushing to do everything we can as fast as we can. Jet trails only have a short time to catch people's attention and get the "oh, cool!" look that we've all given them. As humans, we want the same thing the jet trails have; we want that "oh, cool!" look. We want to bask in that glory for just a few precious seconds.
It's not a bad thing, but often we're too concerned about getting our few precious seconds of glory to pay any attention to anyone else around us. I know I'm way too focused on me a lot of the time and not enough on others; this has become readily apparent to me in the last few months.
My youngest siblings, 14 and 12, are on their way to teenage life. I can remember just a few short years ago where I doubted either one of them would be as tall as my mother. Now the 14 year old is almost as tall as me and the 12 year old is just about as tall as my mother. Both now can actually understand and have adult-ish conversations. I remember when I could impress them with some random scientific fact. Now they're the ones throwing out facts I'm impressed with.
It's the way of life, I know that. Yet, it doesn't help me when I look at them and think to myself "What did I miss?" That's the big, haunting, question. All the things I could have been a part of, the moments I could have shared in...will I regret later that I missed them?
I don't know. It's a "What if..." scenario that everyone has to go through. I'm the oldest of four; I have a 20 year old brother, a 14 year old brother, and a 12 year old sister. I helped raise the younger two; fought the other one a lot when we were younger. I can remember holding the younger two though as little babies and now neither one is really that fond of hugs at all.
Bottom line; humans are jet trails, but unlike jet trails, we need to be aware of the other people in our life. We need to give them the "oh, cool!" look instead of waiting for ours. Like all jet trails, we will begin to fade away so cherish the time you're given now. Don't just devote it to yourself. Though it's our nature as humans to be selfish, we should take the time to grant others a few precious seconds.
Even if that means suffering a bruised leg like me. ;)