We spent the day at the lake for my birthday. As lovely as this sounds, it started very un-lovely. I guess I had envisioned sandy beaches, but instead, we found ourselves plopping down on a large expanse of mud. Well, mud and dried mud, that is. The kids were covered from head to toe, as were our “beach supplies.” As we sat there on the cracked, dried mud, I realized that the day did not meet my expectations. Not in the least.
Until I changed my lens.
I had to look beyond the mud.
Beyond the mud were blue skies and sparkling water. And in the water, I spotted a heron and a crane- sacred creatures in the midst. A beautiful birthday gift indeed.
We drove home that night, grabbed Chipotle for dinner, and settled into our home. Imagine our surprise to find out that the lake’s forested area, very close to where we sat, went up in flames that evening.
But we were just there! The lake boasted blue skies during our visit, but within a matter of hours, they became smoky grey skies from a wildfire.
Well, the lake also contained a heck of a lot of mud, but when the fire hit, I just remembered the blue sky. Isn’t it funny how we remember the good in hindsight?
It’s similar to attending a funeral and listening to the stories or reading the obituary. So much goodness rises to the surface. You’d think we live among a bunch of saints but don’t know it until they are gone.
Perhaps it is the same reason “the good old days” exist in the past. They may have been “mixed bag of old days,” but that’s not how the saying goes.
So how do we find the “good old day” today? Truthfully, being “here” takes practice because our human tendency is to reminisce over the past, dream of the future, or otherwise find the imperfections in the present.
In other words, how can we reconcile ourselves to the present and integrate its imperfections? For example, on our trip to the lake, it might have involved making mud pies. Or, mud castles as the kids discovered. They thought it was great fun.
If there is one thing we have seen in 2020, it’s that “here,” for better or worse, can change on a dime. It explains why “pivot” is the buzzword of the day.
The fires in our state have impacted “here” for so many. Friends have lost homes as the winds pushed flames through the region. “Here” is changing by the minute. But even beyond our area, “here” is shifting on a global scale. Who hasn’t felt an impact?
2020 – you have a lot of mud. But we can be “here” in this good old day, and present among the saints around us.
About the Author: Jen Macnab is an avid reader, writer, and runner who recently resigned from a full-time career in higher education to pursue balance and simplicity. Jen launched Toward Thriving, LLC to support others on the journey toward best self.