I started the day with thanks. The best way for me to start any day.
But this wasn’t just any day.
Some friends of ours had invited my kids and I down to their campsite at Assateague Island to spend an afternoon on the beach and enjoy a couple meals.
Ever since I was a little girl, when I poured over the book Misty of Chincoteague (and all the others in the ‘Misty’ series by Marguerite Henry), I had wanted to visit the islands where Spanish galleons had wrecked and descendants of their live cargo – horses – still roam wild and free.
Today was going to be a monumental day.
It turned out to be more than I’d dreamed.
We drove 2 hours from Annapolis, had lunch at the camp, and crossed the dunes onto the beach. The sight took my breath away.
Bays. Chestnuts. Paints. All gorgeous. Breathtakingly gorgeous.
In that moment, I thanked God again for this day, and was reminded of the words of Anne Lamott in her book on writing, Bird by Bird.
There is ecstasy in paying attention.
You can get into a kind of Wordsworthian openness to the world,
where you see in everything the essence of holiness,
a sign that God is implicit in all of creation. (p. 100)
It was impossible to look on these creatures, surviving here in this unlikely place for hundreds of years, and not see the presence of the Creator.
But that wasn’t my only moment of joyful surprise for the day.
Mid-afternoon, I saw an older woman on a boogie board taking on some huge waves and it looked like so much fun I couldn’t help myself. I ran right out there too. I never even stopped to think about how I looked: pale-skinned 40-something woman who bears all the evidence of her four decades and having birthed three kids. And I’m so glad I didn’t. Letting myself wonder about what goes on in other people’s heads robs me of the fullness of Life intended for me.
The surf at Assateague pounds the beach with tremendous force. These were not gentle lapping waves AT ALL. As I jumped into the sea and the first two swells crested, I lost my footing. The aggressive waves threw me down headfirst – one right after the other! But did I quit? No!!! I got back on my board, sandy hair and all, and headed out to sea.
The next 20 minutes were exhilarating – riding the whitecaps and kicking back out for more – as were the following 5 when I strolled onto the beach and flopped down with all three of my slack-jawed kids. Each one kept sneaking peeks at me like they’d never seen me before in their lives. Finally, my daughter summed up what they were all thinking.
“I can’t believe you just did that, Mom.”
Yes, I did, kid. Yes, I did. And it felt so good.
Giving thanks opens us up. It changes our outlook, removes our inward gaze.
It’s kind of a sin when you think about it. To not give thanks with everything you can muster, for every good thing that comes your way.
I’m so glad I took every opportunity I could that day.
Every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no alteration
or shadow caused by change.
– James 1:17
For a brief video of the horses being startles by my kids’ boogie board being washed ashore, click here.