Illustrations by John Weiss
Years ago, Buzz Lightyear inspired me to seek “Infinity and beyond!”
When my son was a little boy, we discovered the delightful Pixar animation “Toy Story.” Our favorite scene was when Buzz Lightyear decided to prove to the other toys that he could fly.
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One afternoon after laughing through the various antics in Toy Story, I decided my son and I needed an adventure of our own. It had been a long work week and I was a bit tired out, but I wanted to do something fun with my boy.
Back then, we lived amidst the towering redwoods of Northern California. I got the idea that my son and I should take a hike and explore the great outdoors. The sky was blue and the weather was clear and bright. After a quick lunch, we headed out.
Some kind of majestic chair
We drove into the state park and found suitable parking. Shoelaces tied and with a spring in our step, we began our adventure. A friend who was visiting us from Oregon came along. He happened to be a survivalist and very experienced in the outdoors.
As we trudged deeper into the forest our friend pointed out different animal tracks and plants of interest. My son took it all in with great interest despite his young age. We snacked along the way from our travel packs, downed some water and wandered into a bit of a clearing.
In front of us was the huge stump of an old redwood, waiting for us like some kind of majestic chair. I glanced at my son and said, “Come on!”
I hoisted him up and together we stood atop the flattened platform of the grand old tree stump. I struck a dramatic pose and announced loudly, “To infinity, and beyond!” in my best Buzz Lightyear voice.
My son followed suit with an outstretched arm and war cry of his own. It was one of those special moments when you feel great and simply enjoy the magic of life. Kind of like Buzz Lightyear.
Thankfully, our friend captured the moment with his camera.
Form an invincible host
Obligations, responsibilities, and worries are always nipping at our heels. Sometimes it might even feel like the wolf is at our door.
No one can predict when calamity may strike in our lives. But there are also moments of sheer delight and happiness. Times when everything is right and the stars align perfectly. The trick is to conjure the conditions and opportunities that allow for such moments.
“Your success and happiness lie in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.”— Helen Keller
That day so many years ago I could have easily poured a glass of wine, settled on to the couch and been consumed by some empty television program.
Thankfully, I didn’t. I found the energy to rally my little boy, invite my friend and traipse off into the redwoods. Into what became a magical land of sights, sounds, and possibilities.
We all need to grab our loved ones and go to infinity, and beyond. Doing so will change your life. You’ll rediscover what’s really important. You’ll laugh and smile more. Your heart will fill with joy.
“Becoming a father increases your capacity for love and your level of patience. It opens up another door in a person — a door which you may not even have known was there. That’s what I feel with my son. There’s suddenly another level of love that expands. My son is my greatest joy, out of everything in my life.” — Kyle MacLachlan
Open windows of time
To this day, when I view the photograph of that moment on the redwood stump, I feel the fleeting energy and excitement of our adventure. It’s as if my son and I are frozen in time, immersed in one another’s love, company, and the splendor of the day.
All because of Buzz Lightyear. His optimism and adventurous attitude ignited something in me. A renewed spirit and desire to go explore with my son.
If I can leave you with anything it is this:
Make time for loved ones
Fight for such moments. The television shows, social media, financial worries, and career challenges will all be there when you get back.
Happiness is transitory. It comes and goes. But if you’re smart and take advantage of those open windows of time, you just might find yourself traveling.
Traveling to “Infinity, and beyond!”
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