29 July 2015

An African Proverb

I came across this quote as I watched the credits scroll to a not awful movie that didn't get a lot of play called "The Good Lie." The movie tells the story a group of Sudanese 'Lost Boys' and their experience in the United States. While the movie itself was a little cloying, the story of these refugees from Sudan is anything but. Their stories are compelling and if you do watch the movie, the featured proverb makes perfect sense.

When you think about it, the proverb makes perfect sense in so many settings. I thought about when I was running consistently (meaning when I was thinner and had lost my spectacular man rack #dadbodsrule), I always ran further and better when I ran with my Wheaton, IL running group. There was something so motivating about the group dynamic, not to mention the conversation, laughter, camaraderie and commiseration!

I thought about the millions of miles I've been lucky enough to have traveled, many of those have been alone. By and large, those solo trips have probably gone faster, with the exception of every.single.trip. on Satan's favorite railway, Damntrak, but they'd have no doubt been better by going with someone. Or at least sharing part of the experience with someone. By that I mean, when I'm traveling solo, I've got to be better about sharing a greeting with my seat mate on the plane. I've got to be better about 'engaging' the locals about the best places to eat when I find myself some place new. Some of my most memorable experiences while exploring this world have come courtesy of the tip of a local. But those experiences have been most enjoyable when shared. I think of the time the stunningly patient and mighty fine SML and I marched off a plane early one Sunday morning in Sydney, Australia after nearly 24 hours of flying to be met by our two Aussie friends who showed us the sights of that amazing city. Sharing (fantastic meat) pies at Harry's with them was one of the highlights of that trip. We saw things we'd not have seen were it not for being together with friends.

This concept of going farther by going together I'm finding applies to my own learning as well. Learning doesn't stop with the awarding of a degree. It happens every day if we'll let it. Turns out the guy selling empanadas on the corner outside your Midtown office has a story. It's a story that can teach you something. I see this opportunity to learn together manifesting itself every other Sunday as I get to teach a class at church. As I prepare for that class, one of my objectives is to insure we are learning from one another. I don't want to be pontificating, My head is literally too (physically) big to have a hat that lets you pontificate, if I'm being honest. One of the things I enjoy most in that class is what I learn from the comments and insights from those in attendance. I learn far more from them than they from me, I'm quite certain.

But that's the beauty of this proverb. Alone, you can certainly do a lot but in the end, we'll do better by doing things together. I like that.

The children of South Sudan still need help. The crisis is not over.
Click here if you want to learn more and help.

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