My boys and I play this game on the Crab & Winkle path in the autumn, when the crab apples fall from the trees. The game involves kicking an apple so that it stays on the path. The combination of narrow path and odd shaped apples means that more than one kick is a “win” and more than two, the world championship!
Anyway. We’ve played this game since the boys were toddling, and it’s become such a part of our autumn walks that I will often play this game when I’m … hem … walking on my own.
So, yesterday, I’m walking home via the path and see an apple, and give it a boot. Rubbish! Straight into the ditch. Although I’m completely alone, my ridiculous male pride cannot allow this to be the defining apple-kicking effort of my day, so I look for another apple.
There are none on the path, but I see a collection of them just to the side. I focus on a particularly green one, slightly bigger than the others. “Ultimate redemption if this stays on,” I say to myself.
I give it a boot, and inadvertently all the others, too.
The apple I’m focusing on shoots onto the path, and incredibly rolls dead straight. I haven’t noticed all the other apples because I’m only focused on MY apple. It rolls on and on, it’s amazing. I am the ultimate champion of the w-
And the apple rolls off the path.
Yes, I’m a 48 year old man with two children and my own business, but here I am crestfallen, as I watch an apple roll off a path.
I walk on, disappointed in myself. And then I stop.
Ahead of me on the path are two OTHER apples from the group I’d kicked. I’d been so focused on “my” apple that I didn’t see these two … stay on the path.
At that moment, something dawned on me. We can get so attached to one idea. One idea about ourselves and how we should be, or what we should do; one idea about who he is or she is, or they are; one idea about what’s right and what’s wrong…
And that’s OK.
But in our fixation on that one idea, how often do we miss other ideas; other ideas that just might be more useful?
It made me think.
What about you? How many apples are on your path, right now, that you just have not seen?