Last night, just before bed, the girls asked why people vacation in Florida. They have only ever lived here and the luster of oceans, trails, and swimming pools isn’t quite as shiny for them as it might be for kids in a landlocked state. We talked about the beach and I thought about how we had yet to watch the sunrise together with the sand between our toes. Though our backyard is pretty tropical, it’s not the same thing as watching the sun seemingly emerge from the sea, ushering in a new day.
Quickly a plan was hatched to see it through their eyes instead of my retelling.
5:30 a.m. came far too quickly though and when my alarm went off everything in my body begged me to pick another day, another time, another summer to try it. Twenty-five minutes later Big Sister hopped into my bed warning me that I had overslept, that we’d be late, we would miss the sun. My muscles throbbed from my first day back to exercising in far too long. I needed coffee. I didn’t want to go. All those thoughts came at once, essentially laying the foundation for reneging on my offer. It wasn’t her protest that unsettled me – when at first I said that my body ached, it was her compassion.
In her willingness to try again another time, to forgive me though I had essentially broken a promise and her reluctance to be defeated by altered plans, I was authentically humbled. Grace is like that. So off we went, a bumbling, excited and messy haired crew, over the front step and into the truck, talking as we laced through the streets that would widen to the bridge that would send us to the ocean.
I thought we would be the only ones there save the fishermen. But as we barreled toward the slightest slice of the sun, we saw the others: pilgrims of their own reason, there were singles and doubles and small bands of revelers all there to see the same masterpiece. The girls flipped and flopped in the tiny swell and we were all offered an initiation to today.