Surprises by the sea
We woke again this morning to the sound of waves crashing on the beach. We enjoyed our pastries with coffee for breakfast out on the balcony, and I decided I needed to get started on my blog before the events of the past two days begin to fade. Tom is out for a morning walk on the beach, and I am trying to keep my eyes on this laptop without much success. They are constantly pulled back to the view above my screen.
I don't think I would ever tire of watching this scene. I have witnessed many amazing views in my life...from mountains in Colorado, to lakes in Minnesota, to the woods in my own Michigan backyard. This view in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, ranks right up there with the best. But it's different from the other views, which are mostly unchanging (or very slowly changing) as you take them in. Unlike the other more static views, watching the ocean roll into shore is very dynamic and constantly changing.
The waves roll in at different sizes. Some small and gentle. Others so huge you can imagine jumping on a surfboard and riding them in (if only I knew how!). And that crash when they hit the shore! Mountains of foam rise up, and the thunderous sound rumbles through my soul.
So I'm sitting here, imagining an analogy to life. How time never stands still, but keeps rolling like the waves. How nothing remains the same for long...our situations, our kids' lives, and the world we live in...always changing. Sometimes those changes are small and unnoticeable, and at other times they bowl us over like a huge wave.
And then God sends a surprise! Right in the middle of the rolling waves...dolphins! It's not everyday one sees dolphins in the wild ocean, jumping and frolicking and showing off their athletic prowess. But there they were! I think my heart skipped a couple of beats as I ran to get my camera.
Yes, our Creator is full of surprises. Sometimes when you're already overcome with awe at the beauty of life. And at other times, when things are not going well and life is a little scary (like the taxi driver who appeared out of the dark last night as I was on the brink of panic). Being aware of His goodness to me, I say a prayer of thanks and move on with my day. But not without a couple more surprises.
Unfortunately, not all surprises are as happy as playful dolphins. Some surprises are more like stinky fish that wash ashore. So let me tell you about today's stinky fish.
We decided to ride bikes down to Barra de Potosi, a little fishing village about five miles from our resort. Normally, a five mile bike ride would be fairly easy, especially on a flat, newly paved road. But normally we are riding OUR bikes which have gears to change, seats at the right height, smooth and quiet pedals and brakes, and tires which don't blow three miles into the ride. Yep, after toughing it out on a noisy, uncomfortable bike in the hot sun for about 20 minutes, I got a flat. I told Tom to go on ahead while I called our resort, and a half-hour later was finally rescued by Mauricio. He threw the bike in the back of his truck, and drove me the remaining couple of miles to Barra de Potosi, where we found Tom. Mauricio took both bikes back to the resort and we began our exploration of Barra, a place I would describe as "fun in the sun!"
We found a table at La Condesa's Enramada...a place I had discovered on Trip Advisor that reportedly had amazing coconut shrimp. It looked like every other restaurant along the beach in this area: simple plastic tables and chairs, a palm fronds ceiling held up with wooden "tree" poles, and hammocks hanging all around for babies, kids and even adults to take a snooze in. We ordered some drinks, chips, guac and pico de gallo and enjoyed the view.
The beach here is a cove surrounded by the Sierra Madre mountain range which feeds into a large lagoon. One of things we found most entertaining was watching the pelicans and other birds literally dive-bombing into the water for fish. It was really funny. There were also families everywhere jumping in the waves, and wading in the lagoon. We did a little wave-jumping ourselves and had a blast.
I began picking up tiny little white shells as we walked the beach. At one point I had a happy surprise when I found 2 coins (15 pesos) in the sand. Since my shells, pesos and hands were covered with sand, I stepped over to the water to quickly rinse them off. I bent over, completely forgetting I had my cell phone tucked into my swim suit strap. Splash! The 2nd "stinky fish" surprise of the day...my phone was lying in the Pacific Ocean!
Luckily, I was able to grab it before it was buried in sand or carried out to sea with the next big wave. We quickly went back to Condesa's and for 20 pesos were able to buy a few cups of uncooked rice to put my phone into. The irony of the situation really came when I set my shells and 15 pesos I had found on the table, and in the hubbub of getting my phone on rice, the waiter picked up my pesos, thinking they were a tip someone else had left. Not only had I possibly ruined my phone, but I lost the little treasure I had found, and spent another buck or so on the rice. Some luck!
I'm really not sure what God was trying to teach me today through all these surprises, but my best guess is He was trying to remind me how good my life is. The dolphins (and later the delicious coconut shrimp and gorgeous sunset) are pretty obvious indications of the good life. But I think the "stinky fish" surprises are too. The fact that we have really nice bikes parked in our garage at home is a blessing I often take for granted. The luxury of a cell phone is something I typically view as a necessity. And I'm sure the pesos I found on the beach were needed more by that waiter or the person who lost them, than they were by me.
Life is full of surprises. Some good (like dolphins, coconut shrimp & sunsets). Some not so good (like flat bike tires and sea-soaked phones). Today I was reminded to give thanks through all of them.