This is my son’s hand on our most recent camping expedition, which he said had it’s very own smiley face! I love his view on life! I actually saw the face before he mentioned it and I was thrilled he could see it too. But then, he could find a rainbow in a swamp! Which is funny because he is also quite capable of the reverse. He is an optimist at heart but, after living almost a whole decade on this planet, he has learned things can take a turn for the worst and so he harbors doubt and a pessimistic streak, (honestly inherited from his mother) but, when we are camping and away from the norms of obligation, except when he still had to take the trash away from camp to the dumpster much to his chagrin, he visibly relaxes and the world is his to manipulate into a series of joyful events. Especially the ocean, he tells me the smell relaxes him. Agreed! After all, it’s my ocean! (In the same way it was his Ireland in Braveheart).
I was reading a comment on a blog of Mike Rowe today and as so often happens with auto correct and lack of proofreading, someone mistakenly wrote how Mike is a great philanthropist who helps people to “love their lives better.” I am one of those…yes the one of those who expect some sort of review before posting something and cringe at the misspelling or just plain misuse of verbiage all over. But, I am improving in my area of raising awareness. My children are corrected because they are learning the right way to present themselves in written and spoken forms, the rest of you grown ups, I expect a little more from, really but, I have ceased pointing out the glaring errors and focus on polishing my own glass house, stones and all. For the most part we can all translate the correct intimation of what was written and said and go on our merry way. And sometimes, errors lead to whimsical enlightenments never achieved with absolute correctness.
So, I know the author of this faux pas meant to type “live” but, I also like the quirky syntax of “love your life better”. Hence, I immediately thought of the picture above. Time and time again my son, minus his cynical side, chooses to love life better. It’s not just seeing a smile in the sand. He was at the ocean, what’s not to be cheery about? He makes a subconscious effort to make life better. If, (really it’s more of when) he hears his sister make a terrific noise, possibly registering on the richter scale and he does not hear her characteristic “I’m all right!”, he is usually faster than me in investigating and comforting she who has fallen. When, being the gentleman he was raised to be, he holds a door open for me, I may have to wait another full 2 or 3 minutes because he saw someone half a football field away, who may need use of his particular door, of the 4 in a row surrounding him. I’ve never hurried him, just encouraged his desire to help others.
I am in constant awe of his perspective of life’s little disappointments. He opened a deck of cards with biblical people featured on each one and the Joseph card was torn, brand new deck, just one torn in the middle of the deck. I’m thinking sarcastically, “good quality control”, especially after he tells me his last deck has the same card torn the exact same way. He considers it a moment and says, “Honestly, I can understand why it’s torn.” I’m thinking to myself, how on earth can he understand this, what’s there to understand? But, I say out loud: “You can? Why would it be torn?” The reply comes out smooth and unassumed, “Well, because Joseph’s brothers tore his coat when they threw him in the pit so…it fits!” And with a shrug of his shoulders, he is off to inspect whether the two Joseph cards are indeed torn the same way.
I can honestly say my mild mannered son makes me love my life better. He makes me look deeper and I’m an analyzer at heart but, he helps me keep my bitter side in check. Are you able to weave the little disappointments into a bigger tapestry of joy? If not, do you have someone who can show you how? Share the silly things in life, see a smile in the sand and share it with someone else, the memory is made all the sweeter when someone else shares your point of view.