Tuesday, July 29, 2008

...hOw cAn i bE sUrE?...

How do I know that a person really cares? How can I be sure? This is how I KNOW I have a friend that cares. These things make me sure...

My friend brings out the best in me. I am a klutz. I am always late. My friend taught me balance...both physical balance and balance in my personal life. My friend embraces all the qualities that make me who I am...and lets me know that even still...I AM okay...and that there will be someone waiting for me when I arrive...late...as usual...that will still be glad to see me and greet me with a smile. I do everything in the most awkward fashion and I lose my temper...a lot. My friend trained me to be "less awkward" (in the gym at least) and even made me good at some of my endeavors there. My friend is my "outlet" when I am mad...or sad for that matter...a safe haven where I can vent and share my disappointments without harsh judgement. Most of the time, I say the wrong thing...most of the time and I doubt myself and my abilities. My friend treats me like I am good...and therefore I am. My friend tells me that I am capable...and so I go and do. My friend tells me that I am strong...and through him I became so. My friend knows a lot, but still asks my advice...this tells me that I have something to give...that I am smarter than I thought. My friend tells me that I can...and this gives me courage. These things tell me that I have a true friend...someone that cares.

I know that my friend has to go. It makes me sad, but I know that our paths crossed for a purpose. I know it was meant to be. Anyone can find a person to spend time with...to laugh with...to have fun with...but finding a person that touches your life...that leaves you better than they found you...is a gift from God. In this, I find joy.

Friday, July 25, 2008

...wHy iS iT sO hArD tO LeT gO?...


These are the thoughts in my mind that cause the pain in my heart...

Why can't I say goodbye without a second thought? Why is it that I tell myself that I'm okay...and I AM...for a LONG time...and then suddenly...one day...I'm NOT anymore? Why do I try so hard to hold on when I know letting go is necessary...inevitable? I knew this was coming. I thought I was okay. I was not sad. What happened?

I'll tell you what happened...

We laughed. We talked. We ran. He gave me advice and I returned the favor. We were serious and we joked. We raced. I told him my fears and he shared his worries. What happened was friendship in the truest form. And THAT...is what makes it hard to anticipate a good bye...again.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

...LiFe LeSSoNs fRoM sAnD DoLLaRs...

My last post was about my wonderful morning on the beach with my son...and how much he taught me with his search for sea shells. It seems that the lessons were not over. I talked about finding sand dollars and how surprised I was by their "natural" appearance. The night before we left the beach, my husband and I were packing...not just our clothes...but beach chairs and sand toys and gathering all the miscellaneous items strewn around the villa. As I picked up the bag of broken shells, I saw the sand dollars that my son and I found that morning on the beach. They looked so gross. I had done some research online and gathered instructions on how to take the ugly, hairy, brown sand dollars and make them perfect and white, but I wondered if it was worth all the effort. I also knew that I would have to put them in a ziploc bag to bring them home and dreaded the smell that would accumulate inside. Still, I promised my son that we would make them beautiful when we got home. I could not look into those brown eyes and tell him that I had left them...so I dropped them in the bag and sealed the top. When we arrived home from vacation, I took them out of the plastic bag and choked down the urge to gag as the aroma of dead fish followed. I held my nose and started the process of beautifying our sand dollars. I put a mixture of water and bleach in a bowl and dropped them in. The change was amazing to watch. Immediately...the hairy sand dollars were smooth and the brown and green began to fade. I repeated the process...knowing that if I dipped them in bleach too many times...they would become weak and break apart. Two of them disintegrated immediately. One that was especially small and gross was beautiful...perfect. The other two...one small and one large...were still slightly discolored, but mostly white. I was amazed by the beauty that was underneath all that dirt and hair. I immediately thought about how glad I was that I took the time to bring them home and clean them...glad that I endured the smell...glad that I have a little boy that still sees the good...the beauty...the potential in everything and everyone around him and that holds me to the same standard.

My amazement turned into the thought that many times, people are a lot like those sand dollars. Some people are easy to like. They are desirable...strong...beautiful...like the clean smooth sand dollars that made it through the process. There are other people that we are not naturally drawn to. They have limitations and are weak...like the sand dollars that broke when I placed them in the bleach. And still others may repulse us...they are ugly and have a rough exterior. We wonder...much like I wondered about those dirty sand dollars the night before we left...if they are worth the discomfort and time it will take to see who they REALLY are underneath all that.

I learned that people and things are not always what them seem at first glance. If we don't take the time or we are repulsed by appearances, we may never experience the joy and beauty waiting to be found. I also learned that most of my joy came from working to improve the appearance of those sand dollars. Those sand dollars mean something to me because I took the time to go through the process of cleaning them MYSELF...and through that process...and the miraculous end result...I learned some important life lessons.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

...beAutY iS iN tHe eYe oF tHe beHoLdeR...


There are moments in life that only happen once...the first time you hold your baby in your arms...your first kiss...the first time you witness something truly spectacular...with your own eyes. For some people...that "something spectacular" is one of the wonders of the world or a beautiful sunset...for others...the simplest of things can seem spectacular. I witnessed this firsthand this morning.

My son spent hours collecting pieces of broken shells yesterday. I kept telling him that those were not shells...that they were just broken pieces...but he did not care. He continued to collect them like treasures. My husband and daughters were going on an early morning horse ride that my son is too young to go on, so I told him that he and I would go out on the beach early...at sunrise...because that's when you find REAL treasures on the beach. I got him up at 6:30 A.M. and we headed out close to 7. He was excited. In fact, he was bugging me to go the whole time I was brushing my teeth. We got our pails...and shovels...and set out on our treasure hunt.

The beach is an amazing place early. It is like a completely different world...not ANYTHING like it is during the day. The pelicans are diving for their morning breakfast...men are fishing...it's quiet and peaceful...everything looks new and refreshed. We saw lots of cool stuff. We saw a man fishing that caught a stingray. My son got to see it flutter and see the big barb on it's tail. Another man caught a small shark and let J watch him take the hook out and throw it back out in the ocean. Then, there was a big shell that we came upon...the shell of a horseshoe crab. A lady told him that they are one of the oldest creatures...that they date back to prehistoric times. He touched the shell and we continued on. An older woman showed us how to find sand dollars coming up out of the sand. We got 4 small ones and 1 medium sized one. I was excited, but also surprised how dirty and hairy and smelly they are when you find them. I expected them to be smooth and white and beautiful. I didn't know until I got back to the villa and did some research that they have to be cleaned and preserved.
I had so much fun this morning on the beach, but still...with all we saw...and all the shells we came upon...intact...my son continued to collect broken pieces of shells. I caught myself feeling frustrated...not outwardly...but I couldn't help but wonder why he kept picking up what seemed like trash to me. As we walked along and he found another piece of shell, he would tell me how beautiful it was...how special...how lucky he was to find it. No matter how many broken shells he found...no matter how similar they were...he found something unique...beautiful about each and every one.

I had my own "spectacular moment" and I learned an important lesson this morning on the beach. I will cherish the things that I learned at the feet of my child. I have to wonder how many times in my life I have walked past things that seem broken...ugly...worthless. I wonder how much joy and how much beauty that I have overlooked in my quest for perfection. My 6 yr old taught me to stop overlooking the beauty that is at my feet everyday. He does not see the shells as they are...broken. He sees them as they could be...as they once were. There is beauty all around me that I never see.