I could barely believe it. Even as I hopped on the plane, it didn’t seem possible that such good fortune had come my way.
I mean, really. Mother of eight off to Hawaii – on her own!
I pinched myself and squealed.
The person next to me looked over with raised brows. “It’s nothing,” I said. “JUST THE BEST BIRTHDAY GIFT IVE EVER RECEIVED.”
No, I didn’t actually yell in all-caps. But it’s what I thought. I reflected again on the family birthday party when my hubby handed me a folded up piece of paper with the itinerary on it. My dear friends have a place in Maui and he was sending me there for 7 full days, 9 nights. I would leave in 10 days.
I cried like a baby.
And then waited for something bad to happen.
Now I’m not generally a pessimistic soul, but I worried that somehow it wouldn’t come together. I was supposed to take a COVID test that would determine if I could be in Hawaii without quarantine. I envisioned every possible scenario:
The test will come back positive and I won’t be able to go at all.
The test will come up negative, but the car will break down on the way to the airport.
I’ll come up with a fever of a 106 as I’m boarding the plane and they’ll boot me off forthwith.
What I didn’t expect was this moment – taking off into the air, sunset out my window for the next few hours of the flight. That’s the beauty of heading to Hawaii. You literally chase the sunset across the sky and watch the deep, rich colors for hours on end.
As I soaked it in, as I pinched and squealed, as I marveled that I was actually on the plane, my heart still fought to soar along with it. I felt bad for getting my nails done and yet forgetting to make chicken soup to leave behind for my babies. I felt embarrassed that I’d made a calendar for the family of all the different places to be – and then forgot to hang it up. And I thought of the thousand other little missteps and mishaps – and the thousand other moms who definitely deserved this more than me…
And then I stopped.
I breathed deep.
And watched the sunset.
This wasn’t about me “deserving” to go. This wasn’t about me being mom of the year – I’m lucky to be mom of an hour – in the middle of the night – when everyone is sleeping. No, this was about my loving husband who gave me the gift of chasing sunsets. It’s about my amazing God who allowed the pieces to come together for me to fly across the ocean and drink it in.
Deep soul rest that my body, mind and spirit desperately needed.
I’ve been here for three and a half days and my sleep has been deep. My spirit feels like it’s coming up for air, my body is well worked by ocean swims and snorkeling. We all need this – to take time to connect with our God, to embrace beauty, to remember how to live in the moment. It doesn’t have to be a big trip. I’ve had many seasons in life when a big trip was simply impossible on multiple fronts. But It could be a hike, a swim, a drive, a weekend away. We need to disconnect, unplug, rest. Especially in this season of chaos and uncertainty, sickness and stress. Friends, we have to remember to breathe.
Will you give yourself the gift of chasing a sunset? Climbing a mountain, jumping in a kayak, capturing beauty? Will you allow yourself the time to see, soak in, breathe deep – without letting worry of impending doom rob you of the joy?
I hope you do… And as you do, I will dig my feet into the sand and let the sun linger on my face and join you.