grateful to be grateful

But still a bit worried that I won’t be that grateful…or as grateful as I want to be.

We postponed our trip to LA one day to avoid being bumped out of traveling out of this New England white-out. We were delayed on the tarmac for over an hour while they waited for a mechanic to come give his okay to the un-frozen bathroom waste pipes, or something that would have kept us from using the bathrooms over a 6-hour flight. We waited for our luggage and then we waited for our cab.

But then we were there and everything was okay. And the sun was as glorious as I ever could remember. My father asked if I had brought a sweatshirt to the beach, since it’s at least 10 degrees colder there than away from the shore. Even he left his sweatshirt in the car–there wasn’t a chance that he would need it.

We walked along the pier for a while, watching people, watching the birds, listening to the music. It was all so very entertaining. And did I mention glorious?

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We walked down to the beach. Our little local one and his parents also are here in LA, having escaped the brutal weather two days even earlier than us. He was all about the sand play. So he and his folks planted themselves on the beach to get busy, while my father convinced a woman sitting on a nearby bench to scoot over just a little for him to watch. ISHI and I walked down to the water, having to slide down a small sand dune to reach the ocean edge. Both of us laughed as we realized we were re-creating our experience of climbing snow drifts in the best way. It was cold, but it was what else? Glorious.

We walked back to our family to tell them we were going to take a walk along the ocean edge for about a half hour. I heard the woman sitting next to my father say something about how difficult it is to get over a loss. So, as we were walking, ISHI and I discussed how people like my father use stranger therapy to help them, which led to a discussion about the power of the confession in different traditions, religious or otherwise.

But mostly, we were reveling in the power of the waves, the pull of the sand, the comfort of the sun.

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When we got back to the family, my father introduced me to his new best friend. She was visiting from the Netherlands and had come to LA because her sister had died.

Of all the benches in all the beaches in LA…

Her sister was only 52. She had just informed her of her illness a short while before that, and then a friend called to let her know she had passed.

So, a different kind of gratitude comes into play now. I don’t know if there is a German word for sadness gratitude, or in any other language. There should be.

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