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Life Is Like The Sand
by Kevin Eikenberry

The sun in my face, a gentle breeze at my back. As I look to the water I see my family in the waters of Lake Michigan. I am on a beach with the greatest sand I've ever seen or experienced. It just so happens that this sand is in the county I grew up in, Mason County Michigan. The scene is a nearly perfect one; my family laughing and playing, in great conditions in a beautiful place.

As I sit on the beach I think about the sand. Sand from nearby was once used to make automobile glass. This sand defines this community in the summer - this beach and the Lake provide a constant stream of vacationers, and therefore revenue. My thoughts of the sand are different though, more metaphorical´┐Ż

As I sit in the sand, I think about how the sand is like life. The sand is always shifting, driven by the wind. In a small area, it seems to change rapidly - dig a small hole and watch how quickly it is erased by the wind. But look at the whole beach and the sand seems to not change at all. So it is with our lives. While things change everyday, sometimes with frightening speed, in the big picture, the world doesn't change that quickly - people are still people and their reactions to situations are the same. History does tend to repeat itself, even if the circumstances seem different. Small changes seem fast but the big picture changes more slowly, like the beach as a whole.

The sand is powerful in large amounts. I bury my foot in the sand and it is difficult to remove, yet each individual grain is so small as to be barely seen or noticed. The sand is powerful in large amounts. Ideas become powerful as many people believe and apply them. People become powerful when they band together in a common cause. Individually they may not be able to make a huge difference, but when one becomes ten becomes ten thousand, the power is obvious.

My son and I build a pyramid made of sand. Much like a goal, it takes time to build it and tend it. And much like a goal, when the tending stops, forces deteriorate the pyramid, not maintain or build it. Wind and waves (and even people's feet!) strive to reduce the pyramid to a mere memory. Our goals are much the same way. Many people may act as the wind and water, tearing at our goals, downplaying them as "pie-in-the-sky" and "crazy". If we don't tend them, work on them, believe in them, they will crumble or become less than they once were. We must be diligent in maintaining and nurturing our goals, just as we must mend our sand castles if we want them to remain strong and effective.

A beach is a wonderful place, able to provide us with many memories. A beach, I found is also a place that helps me reflect on life and myself. I encourage you to go to a beach soon. Put your feet in the sand! Enjoy the warmth and comfort it provides! And think about how your life is like the sand. That trip to the beach will be a double blessing for you.

c) 2000 Kevin Eikenberry
Kevin is a speaker, trainer, author, and President of the Discian Group. You can reach Kevin at kevin@discian.com.