As a teacher, I often find myself sharing stories. My stories, my family's stories, stranger's stories, it really doesn't matter. Some are profound. I admit that some may not have a relevant point.
One of my favorite stories that I share with students is one I have from my high school spring break. I remember arriving in Cocoa Beach like it was yesterday. Three of us arrived in typical Michigan fashion, in complete awe of the 80 degree Florida weather. After all, 24 hours earlier we had left the frigid cold of a grim Michigan April.
Our first activity, after dropping our luggage in the room, was to walk the beach. As we made our way towards the pier, we noticed people atop the embankment of the beach with photo equipment. The locals were looking through their lenses checking their shots. For a split second, we all thought they were looking at us. Moments later, the ground shook, we heard a massive rumble and we looked North to the Cape to see a rocket launching across the Atlantic from Kennedy Space Center.
It was an amazing sight. One I will never forget. I see it clearly even today. At that moment, it was hard not to reflect upon the dreams of all of us who have looked to the heavens and imagined traveling through space as well as the dedication it must have taken all of those NASA employees to get that rocket launched. The wonder I felt at that moment, that all of us felt at that moment, was lasting. As we looked around to take inventory, it was as if we all had just shared the same thing. Hundreds of strangers applauding in unison. Cheering. On the rare occasion I see the two friends I was walking the beach with that day, we rarely miss the opportunity to talk about what we had experienced on that beach.
Most of us never recognize the idea that the next moment we experience might be one that could last a lifetime. We anticipate events like spring break because we look at them like milestones, rights of passage. We have great expectations for these milestones, usually, because of someone else's story. In total, that whole week was a bit of a blur. We packed a lot of activity into those seven days. A lot of fun, a lot of friendship. But none of those moments stick out like the one on that beach.
As we all look to take a well deserved week away from our daily lives, I would challenge us all to live in the moment this week. Watch the people around you. Drink in all that the different environment has to offer. Look for the unseen and recognize that the memories you make this week, may in fact, not be the ones you initially anticipate. Enjoy your week away from school and safe travels.