I had that sinking feeling recently. As a Corvette lover, I was stunned last week when I saw photos from the National Corvette Museum where a sinkhole swallowed 8 prized cars. I stood on the very spot that is no longer there in September 2014 when I visited the museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. As a former resident of the Bluegrass State, I was accustomed to minor earthquakes, but not sinkholes.
I found several lessons in the incident of the sinking Vettes.
See things when you can.
I am glad that I took time to visit the museum when I had the chance. You never know when something unexpected will happen that will prevent you from travelling or seeing things you want to see before you die. This is an item I was able to check off my bucket list.
As I write this, a high school friend sits by her dying husband’s bedside as he lives his last days under Hospice care. She is no longer able to travel with him to see the sites.
What sites do you want to see before you die? See them when you get the chance.
Take care of your inner life.
I was reminded of a fellow Asbury University graduate, the late Methodist missionary, E. Stanley Jones who was quoted as saying about a church bishop, “He has much in the showroom but very little in the storeroom.” In other words, he looks put together on the outside, but is hollow on the inside.
I had a happy accident last week when I came across, The Thinking Life: How to Thrive in the Age of Distraction, by P.M. Forni. It came along just when I needed it. In the chapter on adversity, Forni points out that adversity “becomes an opportunity to show that we know how to live wisely, which means deploying our best internal resources…to face the challenges of the external world” (Page 140).
When the weight of the Corvettes pressed down upon the floor of the museum, there was nothing underneath to sustain the weight. And so it is with us. That sinking feeling comes when trouble starts pressing down on us and we realize we don’t have the inner resources to cope.
Trouble is coming, so we mentally prepare for it.
Are you prepared for your next crisis?
A Corvette is a magnificently built, beautiful machine. So are Ferrari, BMW, Porsche, and Lamborghini. But to put it in perspective, these cars are made up of wires, plastic, glass, shaped metal and rubber. At the end of the day (there’s an overused phrase if I’ve ever heard one), it’s a material thing susceptible to rust and decay.
There are things more meaningful and valuable. People and experiences, for instance.
The relationships with the people we love are what matters most. The unencumbered wealthiest I’ve had the pleasure of meeting are those who can say without blinking, “Yes having money is nice, but it means nothing compared to having people in my life.” Given a choice, they would take the living, breathing people in their life over dead material stuff.
Who are the people that mean the most to you?
The sunk Corvettes will have a happy ending. General Motors has agreed to restore the cars when they are removed from the bottom of the sinkhole. (Read about it here) The National Corvette Museum will rebuild so we can enjoy the beauty of these fast cars once again. It will be a great day when all is restored.
In the meantime, I’ll be on the lookout for areas of my life that need some shoring up so that that sinking feeling is a stranger instead of a friend.