Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Mishap or Miracle? It Could Just Be Perspective.

I love the way little vignettes in our everyday life can teach us the most powerful lessons. That’s what happened this past weekend when my brother Bill and I accompanied our sister Kathy on an overnight trip to Virginia Beach to celebrate her birthday.

We realized on the four hour drive down, this was the first time in decades that the three of us had been on a trip by ourselves without spouses, parents or children in tow. We reminisced about childhood vacations and reflected on our adult children and the life paths they’ve chosen. We shared secrets, insights and dreams for the future. We had a blast!

The past few years we’d been connected by the constant issues with our parent’s failing health. Now that those challenges were behind us, we deeply reconnected as siblings, and as friends who respect and love each other. It was a beautiful gift my sister gave us when she asked us to join her on this trip. I didn’t realize another gift was coming later in the day.

We met Bill’s son and his new bride at the Virginia Beach Aquarium (they live in the area) and had a beautiful day exploring the exhibits together. Although it was the end of March, the weather was cold and a bitter wind blew all day. The unusual temperatures couldn’t dampen our spirits, however, and we parted so we could check into our hotel then regroup with my nephew and his wife for dinner. That’s when my lesson arrived.

Bill, Kathy and I had been complaining all day about the unseasonable cold as we darted back and forth to the car. On the way to the restaurant in the late afternoon, Bill and Kathy were chatting in the front seat checking direction when I noticed something weird outside. It was snowing. It was very lightly snowing. IT WAS SNOWING ON MARCH 28TH IN VIRGINIA BEACH! Ok, it was flurries, but it was snow.

Quick to alert my siblings, I blurted out, “CRAP! It’s snowing! I can’t believe after the winter we’ve had we’re getting snow flurries here!” I might have sounded a tad dramatic, but I was weary from the months of snow we’d already endured this year.

“Oh…wow!” my sister gasped. “Snow on my birthday at the beach - it’s the perfect gift!”

Whaat? Was she nuts? How could Kathy think this was the perfect birthday gift? Then I got it.

My darling sister is much better than I am at embracing the unexpected. What I saw as a tragic mishap of nature, something I hadn’t expected on a spring beach trip, she saw as a miracle.

She saw magic in watching delicate flakes of snow dancing in the March wind against the backdrop of the mighty Atlantic Ocean. She celebrated the unexpected. She saw it as a gift, and delighted in it. She chose to see the snow as an “unexpected magical miracle.” As quickly as it began, the snow ended and Kathy enjoyed every minute of it.

“How much different would my life be if I choose to embrace the unexpected? If I look for the miracles in scenarios I can’t change?” I wondered to myself. “Wow,” I thought as I began to fully appreciate the ramifications of that slight change in perspective.

I was already grateful for this trip with my brother, sister and family on this special weekend. I hadn’t expected the gift of such an impactful life lesson.

Hmmm…just another one of the million things I thank my sister for.