The littlest one wakes from a jet lagged nap, fitfully inconsolable. Screaming, screaming, nothing soothes. Weary and frayed, I decide to get out, to take him for a walk.
On my way out the door, the husband and I get into a spat. My temper flares. We’re here to enjoy, but we’re all of us a mess. I march out the door.
The boy strains against his stroller straps, wailing for all the neighborhood to hear. He wants his happy place, close to my heart. So I strap 30lbs of nearly two-year-old chunk to my chest and take off down the road. He snuggles in close.
The sea pulls me like a magnet. I’m pounding the tension through my heels. I traipse through the forest, skirting puddles of mud. The air mists, the sky wisps grey. I come to the edge of the sea, on the shelf of a cliff, looking down at the sand. All around me is fog, I’m in the midst of a cloud, rolling in off the water.
My breath is steadier now. The boy is perfectly perky now, the jet lag demons have vanished. We find a bench and settle ourselves. I sit to sort myself, to wade through the thoughts and feelings swirling within. And I feel nothing but in the thick of the fog.
In the fog of life.
I long to see the horizon, to see hope and promise on the other side of “It’s all too much” today. But the fog lets me see only where I am, what’s right before me, no farther.
When I stop straining to see the horizon, when I look down at what I can see, it’s then that I see – the beauty around me, too easily missed when fighting the mist.
The flowering grace of right now.
I see it in my daughter too. She gets caught in the worries and wants. She rattles off her list of “woes” and I sigh exasperated. “How about you think of all the amazing things you have to be thankful for today?”
And now I’m preaching to myself.
But my daughter, unlike nearly anyone I know, she knows how to lose herself in the wonder of a moment.
If there’s one word that describes my girl, it might be exuberant.
Every birthday party she has ever been to she has loudly proclaimed to be “the best birthday party EVER.” Every single party.
Sitting at the airport Burger King, in her pre-departure excitement, she declares this ice cream eating moment “the best time of my life.”
Walking to the beach from her grandparents’ house, she catches a glimpse of the sea. “Look, Mom, look!! Look at the color of the ocean!! I LOVE the color of the ocean.”
This girl knows how to enjoy.
She teaches me to see, to stop and delight.
And so I do.
I see the waves fold in like layer upon layer of lace. Sea foam bubbles, iridescent pearls trimming the earth’s bridal skirt.
I see a couple of cold crazies, stripped down, wild and gloriously free.
I see the marvel of a man I married, the gift of him. The ever-enduring love that always comes back to hold the brokenness of each other.
There is still the bustle of do, do, do.
But there is also the act of rest and quiet, the practice of gratitude, the glories to enjoy.
There is still the misty horizon, the unanswered questions, the how‘s, the when‘s, the why‘s.
But always, always there is beautiful grace… right in the thick of the foggy days too.
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