A few weeks ago, God provided a way for my brother and I to take our first non-working vacation in many years. Given the fact that we slept through most of the first two days, we really needed it!
After a few days of resting (while it rained), the clouds parted and the sun came out, allowing us to get out on the deck and enjoy the ocean view. Feeling less tired, our sense of adventure began to kick in as we saw a speedboat pass. The advertisement said that for a few dollars you could ride the boat and see the dolphins in the ocean. Thinking, “Oh well, why not?” we decided that the next day we’d give it a try.
The only problem was that the next morning when we arrived to purchase our fares and board the boat there was a big warning sign that said this ride was not for people with certain physical issues. Right away, we knew that because of my brother’s foot, we would not be able to go.
Feeling a little disappointed, we decided to try another venue. This time we headed for a pier that was advertised to extend toward the ocean perpendicular to the boardwalk. Personally, I was hoping that the pier would reach close enough to the water so that my toes could touch the ocean and maybe I could even jump a few waves.
However, once again, I was disappointed. Because while the pier was very long, when I reached the end there was still quite a walk over the deepest part of the sand to get to the ocean.
Still needing to give it a try, I took two steps off of the pier into the sand before I realized that there was no way my knee and ankle were going to support walking on the beach. Praying that my knee wouldn’t twist before I took the two steps back to the pier, I turned around and took the two steps back to safety.
That’s when I made a decision.
Shaking the sand out of my sandals, I knew I had a choice.
My brother and I could become sad and depressed about the things our bodies wouldn’t allow us to do or we could shake it off, go back to the hotel, throw on our swimsuits, and enjoy the amazingly beautiful gift we’d been given.
We could focus on our limitations or we could enjoy all that was before us.
As I walked back the pier to where Jamie was waiting on the boardwalk, I chose option #2.
I would choose to embrace what was rather than wish for what I couldn’t have.
Rather than focusing on Jamie’s handicap, we chose to enjoy reading, relaxing, and soaking up the sun.
Instead of focusing on the fact that my joints aren’t as young as they used to be and I couldn’t go boogy boarding all day like I did when I was younger (see you didn’t know I used to be a wild child, did you?), I choose to enjoy watching little ones play on the shore while dolphins swan behind them in the ocean.
As we choose to shake off disappointment, and find joy even in our limitations, that decision made all the difference.
So often in life, this is the choice that each of us needs to make. Trust me when I say that I know that most of the time, this choices involves more than the decision to enjoy relaxing by the pool.
Many times we have real wants, real needs, and real obstacles that clamor to rule our minds.
Yet, what I have learned (and am learning) is that after we’ve done all we can do and prayed all we can about a situation, there needs to come a point where we accept what is and learn to enjoy it.
The truth is that there is beauty to be found even in the messy situations in our lives.
Laughter can be found even in the hard times.
When we learn to be thankful for what we have rather than always focusing on what we wish we had, that’s when we’ll start being happier, healthier, and even more able to enjoy every stage of our lives.