I watched him descend the stairs at the ice forum one evening, his lanky frame sauntering in characteristic fashion and making me smile at memories of watching him walk across parking lots and down mall midways and across rooms for more than thirty years. I watched him until he disappeared around the corner and into the corridor below. My husband: a living, breathing paradox of manly man and incurable romantic.
I sat back and breathed deeply, the noise and pulse-quickening chaos of a professional hockey game surrounding me like a comfortable blanket and warming me against the chill of the ice below. The bellowing of horns and yelling of fans with arms and Tampa Bay Lightning foam fingers flailing in giant waves around the arena only deepened my sense of happiness.
I remember thinking, This is my life. And it is a beautiful life.
On the ride home I couldn’t stop smiling. We considered stopping somewhere for pie and coffee, then reasoned that we could pick up whole pies at the store and make our own coffee for less money and enjoy it (and whatever else our imaginations might dream up) in the comfort of our night at home alone.
Our reasoning was perfect.
Lately I’ve been giving more thought to enjoying each moment for what it is, for what it offers, for the beauty it holds, rather than worrying about other things or thinking about much of anything outside that teaspoon of time.
That night I felt a deep appreciation for every tiny detail of our evening together, like the way the scraper blade left little mounds of powdery ice for the shovels to scoop up, the sound of the Zamboni humming across the surface and leaving it shining like glass, the smiles and shrieks of delight from fans caught by the camera and displayed on the giant screen overhead.
Our team lost, and neither of us cared.
The walk from the forum back to the car, stopping to listen to the street musician drumming on paint buckets, listening to old favorite songs on the radio, chatting about plans for the next few months…all of it was a gift.
What a blessing, this life. This simple, lovely, beautiful life.
One might deduce from such description that mine is a charmed life. One would be wrong, for I have known great hardship and loss. But what a gift to look at the anguish and see art, hear music in the chaos, feel giddy over a rainstorm. What a joy to see loveliness in a pile of ashes that my God has redeemed and made beautiful. Is it possible to thank Him enough?
I wonder if He smiles at my childlike search for His finger-streaks of beauty like lightning bolts across a black sky. I wonder how I could live without the reminder that even when all seems empty and dark, He is there. I wonder how I ever got to be so blessed.
I can’t help but think maybe wonder is the best gift of all.
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A Write Where It Hurts column post