I just finished reading one of my favorite books, “The Wind in the Willows.” It’s not just the inspiration behind Toad’s Wild Ride at Disneyland, it’s an insightful book full of rich characters that teach powerful analogies about human nature.
I connected most with the character portrayed by the River Rat. He is fiercely loyal, nurturing, and thoughtful. He is well respected, generous, and he loves his simple life living next to the river basking in the beauty around him.
But in chapter 10, the rat gets a longing for change. As winter approaches, he overhears swallows talking about the thrill of migration, and change. Then he meets a new character, the sea rat, who lives a life of adventure. In only a few moments, Rat is taken with the traveler’s swashbuckling tales about the glamorous life he’s lived. He gets so influenced that he returns home, gathers his things in a little pack, and almost leaves everything he loves.
This little story got me thinking about the influences around us. Every time I get on social media, I get a glimpse of other people’s best lives. I see their travels, their beautiful homes, their flawless skin and style, and their picture-perfect families. It’s so easy to begin thinking that my life isn’t good enough! And just like the river rat, I often find myself in a trancelike state buying things I don’t need and focusing a little too much on the life I don’t have, instead of the one I do have.
Opra Winfrey said, “Be thankful for what you have, you’ll end up having more. If you focus on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
In the book, the Mole, a childlike, innocent character, and stoic friend, is the one who brings the rat back to reality, and Rat begins to remember the good things about his life.
And honestly, I think that is the key. Remembering!
When I think my life comes up short, or isn’t enough, it never is. But when I remember in gratitude for the things I do have, the people I love, and the joy and beauty around me, I am reminded that my life is wonderful. It isn’t perfect, but it is full of beautiful challenges that I can handle!
And all of it… is enough!