Yesterday I remembered an event that happened over a decade ago. One summer evening, my dad planned to meet up with my uncle at a nearby park along the river to do some early evening fishing. He asked me if I wanted to come along for the ride and so I did. I recall taking pictures of my dad and my uncle, as they waded in the river fishing. There was an intense sunset that evening.
As my dad packed up his fishing gear in the back of the truck, when twilight began to fade, he began to talk to three people in the parking lot. I don’t recall the particulars as to how the conversation began, but throughout the conversation, the three people shared that they were from Australia and on the last leg of a worldwide trip. Through the course of their conversation, they shared some of the impressive sights they saw on their trip and they expressed that Canada’s rugged beauty and diversity topped the list. (Of course, I was thrilled to hear that. Who doesn’t enjoy hearing love for one’s country?) I listened enraptured.
I couldn’t really tell you what the Australians looked like because while this conversation occurred, I sat in the truck. I shied away. When the conversation began, I had been sitting in the truck already. I don’t think they even noticed me, so it wasn’t so much that I was being obviously rude. However, I always regretted my decision to hang out and listen rather than to be an active participant in the conversation. I wimped out, quite honestly. I wasn’t the type of person who found it easy to converse with strangers. It was awkward and I risked looking like a fool – not knowing what to say. At the time, I wanted to get out of the truck and join them, but, stupidly enough, the longer I lingered, the more difficult it became to move. Now, over eleven years later, I think about that day – the sunset, my dad and uncle fishing, and that conversation with the Australians. Was that a life changing moment? Probably not, but it was a moment that prompted change, even ever so subtle. Although, I can’t change how I acted that evening, I can change how I act in similar situations that beg small acts of bravery, even when I feel paralyzed, and it would just be easier to continue sitting in the truck.