Life is always throwing us little check points and reminders to keep us on track. Sometimes these moments are to bring us back down to reality and add humility to our lives. Other times we miss them and thus miss an important moment, even if it is just for a second. So take notice, be aware, and live in the present. You never know what gift might be floating by, right in front of your nose.
This morning, December 10th, as I am completing my last morning of my 3-days of a long commute to work, I look up through my windshield and see a beautiful sunrise breaking in the clouds above me. A light blue is taking over the dark of night, while rays of gold, yellow, and a soft pink bring depth into the vast canvas above me. While taking in it's beauty and feeling so humble against the great giant world around us, my eye distracts and focuses in on the many black splotches that have smashed against my windshield.
Ah, another case of the damn love bugs. Immediately the simple joy of a new day is gone and I become quickly surrounded in a cloud of annoyance.
For those of you who don't know what love bugs are, they are a small black fly with a red thorax. They are prominent in Florida, especially in the mornings and just before nightfall. They tend to wreck havoc while driving as hundreds of their bodies smash against the windshield and hood of your car. It's not uncommon for folks to have to pull over to wipe them off in an attempt to clear their view and stay safe on the roads. In fact it's highly suggested to do so because their bodies are highly acidic and will pit the finish on your car if allowed to stay there indefinitely. Believe it or not they can even cause your car to over heat. Check it out here. Anyway, my goal is not to educate you on these creatures, or cause cancellation to your upcoming trip to the sunny state of Florida.
As I'm looking through my newly "love bug painted" windshield, the beauty of the sunrise completely leaves my chain of thoughts and instead a wave of pure anger rises inside of me. The pending stress from the day ahead begins to accelerate, my adrenaline starts pumping, the need to now pay for another car wash pops into my head, the fact that because my job is located in the middle of nowhere has caused millions of acidic bodies to cover my car (brand new car) for the fifth time this month. Moving into the thought of how my job brings so many unwanted daily frustrations and my daily contemplation of it's worth, and then transpiring into the angst of how lucky I would be to not have to come to this dreaded blue building (in the middle of nowhere) three times a week. The levels of rage, anxiety and a possible feeling of sadness engulf my thoughts like a forest fire.
And then I stop thinking all together.
A flash of "true reality" comes into my mind.
And I remember that over Thanksgiving my father and I were just hysterically laughing (the stomachache, tears in the eyes kind of laugh) about the damn love bugs in Florida. He was relaying his first trip to Florida in which upon crossing the state line thought he had suddenly entered into war or a possible black out! He didn't know what had happened and couldn't believe these "bugs" could cause such havoc. He went on about the extreme efforts it took to clear his view so that he could continue down to Key West. Those damn love bugs... And my daily exaggerated frustrations of the love bugs and how annoying they can be. We found this common ground of hate for the love bugs to be quite funny. One of those moments, where you really had to be sitting with us or understand the angst these little bugs can cause to truly find the humor behind it.
It was this memory that I suddenly found myself giggling in my car, as a smile began to emerge across my face, just like the sun casting it's beautiful rays, bringing light into the once dark sky. I suddenly felt so thankful to have shared these good laughs with a man who dedicated so much time to making me who I am today. In fact, I may only be his daughter through marriage, but every stepping stone I hit I see more and more of his gifts inside myself.
This morning I was reminded of the many reasons to be thankful, such as the fact that I have a job, that allows me to own a car, that allows me to live in a lovely sunny place, and that allows me to experience the ongoing war against the love bugs. Thus, I challenge you to find light in the negative moments today and every day.
The true irony of the story... today, December 10th, happens to also be my dad's birthday. Happy Birthday Dad, we love you! - B and all the love bugs in Florida.
It's no coincidence that these moments seem to hit us out of left field, for I truly believe that if we could see them coming they wouldn't have the impact as if we were prepared for them. Be grateful for the surprises in life, even the ones that seem ugly on the outside and challenge yourself to find the deeper meaning.
Words from Hayden Fuss: "Life is a funny thing. I'm fascinated by how each event dictates the next, a very simple cliche we all accepted very early in life. But to me it's how these events look in retrospect, in the big picture, that is so overwhelmingly incredible.
When my parents found out Grant was special needs, it was a tumultuous and tragic time for them. In short, they had to change their lives. They chose to move to the beach in North Carolina, where Grant could be given up as a ward of the state and receive the complex care he required. It would allow my family to start anew. The people of their small Pennsylvania hometown thought they had gone crazy because of his ailments.
It was there was my father found success and fishing, my mother found friends and tennis, and my sister and I had sun soaked childhoods filled with lots of mistakes that helped us grow. I found skateboarding and my best friends. I played lacrosse which took me to Florida for one hell of a year. I was introduced to science and met brilliant people who inspired me to think. Because of them I've had some academic success and gotten to experience amazing cities like Raleigh and Boston. But really it's all because of Grant. Maybe things would have gone differently, but regardless, Grant happened and then so did all of that.
Time, like distance, can have such different meaning at different scales. What is a war and chaos at the microscale between your body's immune system and a virus, is harmonious healing at the macroscale (there are countless other examples...) And what is tragedy for a month or a year, is the best thing that ever happened in terms of a lifetime. I'm not saying I wanted Grant to be disabled, I'd give the world to share a beer with him and talk, but that event appeared to be chaos when really it was harmony, or I guess it's really a bit of both. They are indistinguishable.
We forget how much each second matters, how each changes our life. Moments, like musical notes, are insignificant and meaningless by themselves. But together, they play a beautiful song, with the transition from each moment just as important as the moments themselves."