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Waiting — Waisted Potential — Brothers and Sisters


Waiting: “Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite. Or waiting around for Friday night or waiting perhaps for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil or a better break or a string of pearls or a pair of pants or a wig with curls or another chance. Everyone is just waiting.” Is Dr. Seuss right? Are you just waiting? If so, Larry McMurtry had this observation for you, “If you wait, all that happens is that you get older.”

You may do well to recall the words of Hazel Lee, “I held a moment in my hand, brilliant as a star, fragile as a flower, a tiny sliver of one hour. I dripped it carelessly, Ah! I didn’t know, I held opportunity.”

William James’ advice is worth pondering since you are just waiting and don’t have much to do anyway, “To change one’s life: Start immediately. Do it flamboyantly. No exceptions.” So you aren’t sure you want to change your life? You are fine with doing nothing? Bill Watterson has found a small glitch with that strategy. “There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.”

Ruth Ann Schabacker said, “Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.” However you decide to deal with just waiting and its glitches, Friedrich Nietzsche was nonetheless right, “When one has a great deal to put into it a day has a hundred pockets.” Surely one of those pockets holds a special surprise, just for you.

Waisted Potential: Sometimes the truth isn’t very complicated. Achieving personal excellence is a case in point. Michael Jordan said, “You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.” Ralph Waldo Emerson echoed the theme, “Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.” Bruce Barton also understood the key to excellence, “Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstance.”

Mignon McLaughlin likely took the idea too far toward universal incompetence when he said, “We are all such a waste of our potential, like three-way lamps using one-way bulbs.” Even so, he did have a point. Most people stop far short of exhausting their potential. Thomas Edison was definitely right when he said, “If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”

There are doubtless many reasons for wasted potential, but “Chiefly the mold of a man’s fortune is in his own hands,” as Francis Bacon counseled. “Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be.

Brothers and Sisters: There is a Vietnamese Proverb that says, “Brothers and sisters are as close as hands and feet.” Although this isn’t universally true, it should be. As Susan Scarf Merrell said, “Our brothers and sisters are there with us from the dawn of our personal stories to the inevitable dusk.” Marian Sandmaier added, “A sibling may be the keeper of one’s identity, the only person with the keys to one’s unfettered, more fundamental self.”

Yes, “Our siblings push buttons that cast us in roles we felt sure we had let go of long ago…. It doesn’t seem to matter how much time has elapsed or how far we’ve traveled.” Despite this truth from Jane Mersky Leder, “Children of the same family, the same blood, with the same first associations and habits, have some means of enjoyment in their power, which no subsequent connections can supply …”

Even so, “To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time.” A warm “Thank you,” to Clara Ortega for reminding us. If this simple truth slips your mind, Pamela Dugdale is here to refresh your memory, “Siblings are the people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring – quite often the hard way.” When all is said and done, Marc Brown was certainly right, “Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero.”