Cinderella. The frog prince. Angels in disguise. Tragedy turned blessing. All our lives we are given the lesson that things are not always what they seem. Be not quick to judge, for you do not know what lies within or ahead.
Last fall as news of deaths and stress of life seemed to be our daily lot, I never dreamed of spending Thanksgiving in a beautiful house on the beach. Yet, there we were. It was almost eighty degrees Fahrenheit, and while I’m partial to my chilly weather and general November dreariness, it was itself a blessing. Be ye of good cheer. Enjoy life. Revel in the source of life, of energy. The clouds came, the wind and cooler temperature. Even so, standing on the beach with my toes in the sand, I was grateful for life, for the moment.
It was sunset, and the clouds left a window to assure us of as much, though to the southwest we could see the rain. The light, the wind, the chill, the laughter — everything was right. Everything was and is beautiful. After our summer trip to the beach down the highway, I wasn’t expecting it to be so lovely. I certainly didn’t expect to see the stingray jumping in the distance.
The next day the ashes of a loved one were released to the ocean, our reason for being there, but I don’t think that means we weren’t to enjoy ourselves. If our aunt were with us, she would have been having a ball, too, enjoying the place but even moreso the family togetherness, the tradition of food, the sincerity of our lives.
Maybe we like being surprised. We act with disbelief when something truly good or beautiful presents itself. Sometimes, even, we blatantly deny or ignore it. We do not expect to find beauty abundant.
Rather than hoping for a surprise party, we can search for the treasures we know are there, excavating the golden moments or the silver linings.
I didn’t have my camera with me to capture the smiles and sunset on the beach (photos are from my mother-in-law’s camera). All I could do was breathe in the salty air, taking it all in as deeply as I could. For that Thanksgiving, I was grateful, as ever, for the abundance of beauty, in all its forms, in our lives. May I go forward expecting to find and experience beauty, even though I do love a pleasant surprise.