“That’s too much money,” I declared to Micah. “I don’t think I’ll do it.”
“Okay, Mom,” Micah replied.
My statement seemed to fly in the face of my childhood dream, though.
When I was an eight year-old, my heart fell in love with the sleepy-eyed Australian marsupials that were perched just paces away from me.
Eight year-old me would have leaped at the opportunity to hold a koala – in Australia.
Peering up at the dozing koalas at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary located outside of Brisbane Australia, I decided that the price for holding a koala seemed a bit exorbitant for the adult version of me.
“I can take my own koala photos,” I thought.
“I don’t need to hold a koala,” I rationalized.
“I have fulfilled my dream of seeing koalas in Australia,” I stated.
So, I walked away from the koala-holding station and my son, Micah and I began to ascend the trail that led to viewing and interacting with kangaroos – our next stop in our Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary visit.
As I took my first step up the hill, I glanced back at a young child holding a koala. She grinned from ear to ear as her photo was taken. At that moment, something inside my heart lurched. That little girl could have been me.
I looked over at Micah and said, “Micah, I may regret it if I don’t hold a koala. I don’t know why – but I think that I need to fulfill one of my childhood dreams – regardless of the cost.”
“Sure, Mom,” Micah answered in support.
So, we descended the hill, and returned to the koala holding station. I paid the twenty-five Australian dollar fee and took my place in queue. Thankfully, we had arrived at the koala sanctuary early in the day so the line to hold a koala wasn’t very long yet. The wait time was less than ten minutes.
When my turn came, I was asked to stand in a certain direction with my arms bent and my hands laid at a 45-degree angle upon each other. I was directed to stand stiff and erect. My strong and sturdy stance gave the koala a sense of security as its furry, round body was placed upon my hands and its arms were positioned upon my shoulders.
Like moments earlier, my heart lurched into my throat when the koala hugged me. I spoke quiet words of comfort, blessing and love to the little girl. To my surprise, a tear or two surfaced in my eyes. I quickly blinked the tears away when directed to look at the camera and smile.
Like the little girl I had observed, a big grin spread across my face.
A photo was snapped.
The koala was lifted from my arms and my koala-holding experience was done.
As I returned to Micah, I shared with him that I hadn’t realized that I needed to hold a koala when we purchased our tickets to enter Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary that morning. I thought that seeing koalas and taking photos of koalas would be enough for me.
I was wrong.
Now, I understood that it was important to honor the hopes and dreams of the childhood version of me. There would never be a koala-holding ‘next-time’ moment for me. If I was going to hold a precious, sleepy-eyed koala, it had to be now.
Not one day.
Not another time.
I held a koala and my heart leaped with joyous delight.
This koala-holding experience stirred my heart. I wonder. What other hopes, dreams and wishes had I forgotten, denied, or laid to rest because of this-that-or-the-other excuse, rationalization, or reason?
I don’t have an answer yet.
However, I’m definitely thinking about this as I embrace the notion that my life is to be lived – now and not later.
This is the lesson of the preciously fuzzy, cute and cuddly, ten-pound koala.
Pursue your dreams.
Engage in the moment at hand.
Friends, do you have a wish or dream that you have hiding in your heart?
Get in queue.
And hold that koala, visit that country, jump from that plane, reach for that dream.
You’ll be so glad you did.
I don’t have any koala regrets – and you shouldn’t either. 🙂