It is obvious when you meet someone who is truly satisfied with life. There is an ethereal glow that seems to surround them, pulling life, love, and happiness into their gravitational field. I met one such person recently. His passion for his chosen profession was obvious, and intrigued me. This man, let’s call him “Brian”, like many of us, started out on one path, but ended up on quite another. He did what was expected of him, went to college, pursuing a career in resort management. Lucky for him, it didn’t take long to realize that the cobblestones along the path he was taking simply didn’t fit. During a six month internship, fresh out of college, he chose to take the step that would forever change the course of his life. He gathered up his courage, and moved to Hilton Head Island, ready to do what was necessary to find a career that fit.
Ten years later he is one of the most satisfied individuals I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Spending time with him was like receiving a gift, gleaning knowledge from one who truly loves his profession. That, my friend, is a rarity in the public service industry these days. The look on his face as he navigated our boat through Calibogue Sound and along Jenkins Creek was unmistakable. He wore the expression of a man who is truly at peace. I watched in awe as he kneeled with Jillian, pointing out tiny creatures, nearly invisible to the untrained eye, freely sharing his knowledge and joy with her. I hope someday that Jillian will be able to discover that same peacefulness in whatever endeavor she chooses.
As I reflect on our afternoon with “Brian”, I am amazed by his happiness and satisfaction with life. Like the marshy maze that surrounds Hilton Head, life is a journey we must navigate carefully. One wrong turn can lead us down paths we never intended. At times it may seem we’ve lost our way for good; stuck in a rut from which it is impossible to free ourselves. What I learned from “Brian” is that even if our boat is stuck in the muck at low tide, high tide will always return, lifting our vessel from the mud below. We owe it to ourselves and those around us to free our boat and continue to navigate our journey when the tide returns.