I was talking to my daughter today . She was having a rough time because she had planned a fishing trip with her husband and little boys this past weekend and nothing went as planned. She was wondering if she’s ever going to have a good time “like we did when she was little”. I found myself repeating what my grandma had told me a long time ago.
In my teens, my grandma told me “Nothing is ever perfect, so make the best of what you’ve got”. As an all knowing 16 yr old, I rolled my eyes and thought I’d prove her wrong some day. My life, my career, my husband, my kids… It was all going to be perfect.
Years later I know she’s right. I’ve only had one moment in my life when I looked around myself and truly thought “this is perfect“. What’s ironic is that at the time I had absolutely no control of the situation. (I am kind of a control freak, I like to plan every little detail.) I had been hiking since before day break, had spent a couple of hours photographing the Subway, which I’d been dreaming about since I was a kid. I was tired, hungry and trying to stave off a headache. I was feeling old…It doesn’t help that I was about 20+ years older than everyone on the hike and not in great shape. My son had hiked back to prod me up the trail faster. Then I walk around the bend to see this:
Our friends on the hike had prepared a surprise for us! Three of them had hiked in early hauling over 200 lbs of equipment… Plus a full size picnic table! The table was next to the stream and a small waterfall. It was set with cloth tablecloths, cloth napkins, candles and glass dishes. It was amazing! Like a mirage …I couldn’t believe it was real. A complete sushi dinner!
When we sat down to eat we just looked at each other…everyone grinning from ear to ear… This moment was epic…I knew I would never experience anything like this again in my life. There was a quiet connection ..a unity…a shared feeling of complete gratitude. No one spoke a word, but we all felt it. Gratitude for each other, for the moment we were living in, for where we were and who we were. Senses were heightened, a clarity, a feeling of peace. I’ve never felt this before.
The silence was broken with a bout of laughter. For some it was the surprise, for others it was anticipation of seeing the surprised faces of their friends. There was relief and triumph of pulling this off without us finding out. The amazement, how could they have possibly carried all of this stuff this far down a trail that I could barely navigate with a 10 lb pack?
We had a delicious sushi dinner. The hikers coming by all wanted to know what the special occasion was? Proposal? Anniversary? It had to be something big! It was actually my daughter’s birthday and the birthday of one of the guys who hauled it all in ….but it was just meant to be a surprise for friends, and it was.
So how was grandma right?
NO-THING is perfect. (Moments, however fleeting…are!)
To others it might not have been viewed as perfect. If we thought about the 2+ mile hike – uphill – that we’d be carrying all of this stuff out (which ended up in the dark) it might have dampened the mood. It could be considered less than ideal, but our group was determined to continue the evening as EPIC! And it was … We hiked out in the dark. We didn’t have enough flashlights so we had the little tea candles from the table. It was slow going, lots of tripping and falling in the water and on obstacles on the trail. There was music (until our batteries died), singing and laughing and working together to get all of that stuff and each other up the hill. When it was all said and done… Bruises, cactus, sore muscles and all, I wouldn’t change a thing! The circumstances were not “perfect” but the EXPERIENCE was! (I still have the candle by my desk now as a reminder of that special day.)
“Make the best of what you’ve got.”
Grateful for the good people who consider me a friend.
Amazed at what friends will do for each other.
Stunned that people are so generous.
Blessed to live in such a beautiful area.
Happy to be able to follow my dreams.
***special thanks to Johnny at Sakura for loaning the plates, serving dishes and napkins from his restaurant, and for preparing an amazing feast for us!