As I left my house last Thursday, I passed this cute little creature on the sidewalk, happily making his way to the other side with so much energy and enthusiasm. On the return trip back to the house, I once again came upon this little fella and was saddened to see he did not complete his (or her) journey.
The destination had obviously been the green luscious grass, where I’m sure the worm would have lived happily ever after in worm world. I’m not sure if the demise was a heat stroke or a human foot but the worm had come so close yet didn’t make the ultimate destination. It was within inches of completing the goal. I can tell you just like this worm would if it could talk, that an inch really matters!
How many times have you been watching a sporting event and you hear the announcer say, “They stopped him within inches of the goal line” or on a news report you heard, “The bullet missed his this or that by mere inches.” How many times in life has an inch been a deal breaker?
Dr Martin Luther King once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” We are all measured and sized up and held to some standard of accountability at some point in each of our lives. It may be when you could have taken up for your friend on the playground in elementary school who was being bullied, in high school when you didn’t stop the rumors from being spread about the introverted new student, in college when you had someone else write the paper for class and started cutting corners, at the new job when you were asked to turn your head to the sexual harassment in the office. It could have been answering the inappropriate emails that might affect your marriage or not standing up for the friend who was in a different socioeconomic level than you…. The list could go on and on and on.
That little voice in our head says, “Does it really matter?” Yes, at some stage in all our lives, we have to be accountable for those actions and look at ourselves in the mirror and realize we are so close and that extra inch really does matter. You could have been a hero in waiting and didn’t go that extra inch to make a difference. How lucky you would have been if you were the one to use your ability to change someone’s life or add character and integrity to your own!
However, most of us are like soldiers avoiding land mines; we don’t want to interfere, get involved, or take that last step to be the hero. These invisible losses or missed opportunities hopefully will make us start fresh and desire to finish strong each day. The missed inches should make all of our lives challenging, and I hope a bit frustrating as you reflect on the times in your life that all you had to do was go that extra inch and you would have been the difference maker and had a “hooray for you” kind of moment!
Photo credit: David Reber
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