I hit a bucket list item this summer. The Grand Canyon! Many of you may know that I have 4 children, and the one thing that children do well is grow up fast. A few years ago, we started planning a family vacation before my oldest got to the point where he was in college, or working, or too busy with his own life that he couldn’t be a part of our trip. So, in late July, we ventured off to the southwest, a place none of us had been.
When I was telling people about our plans, I kept recalling someone who once said, “what’s the big deal about seeing a hole in the ground?” And they were serious. For a minute I thought maybe they were right. But now that I’ve been there and seen it myself, they were dead wrong. I’m pretty sure that person has never been there before. It truly was a majestic site that is hard to describe. I could try to tell you all about it, or show you pictures, but if you weren’t there, it just won’t mean as much. Pictures don’t do it justice. If you really want to know what it’s like, then you have to see it for yourself.
Most of life is like this I suppose. While we may share some common experiences, ultimately, we are each leading a unique life that is only experienced by us. No one else has lived like you.
A favorite movie of mine is “Good Will Hunting”. This is a movie from 1997 featuring Matt Damon and Robin Williams. Matt Damon plays the role of a young genius who seems to know everything about everything. There is one famous scene from that movie that I’ve never forgotten. As they are sitting on a park bench one day, Robin Williams challenges Matt Damon by saying, “I bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel.” For me that moment and movie line taught me an important lifelong lesson. I learned that you cannot make assumptions about other people, because you don’t know about their life experience. You can’t pretend to know something if you’ve only read about it in book. Experience matters. We don’t know what others have been through. We should never assume. If we really want to learn about someone, we should allow them to tell their story, in their own words.
I’ve always liked the quote, “Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.” Recently they added “and believe nothing on the internet.” I think that’s good advice. I’m glad I followed this advice and that I went to see that big hole in the ground out west for myself. It was the most beautiful hole in the ground I’ve ever seen.
“Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.”