As many of you know, I have a challenge called Lupus that limits my sun exposure. For a ‘child of the sun’, this is the one limitation that I find particularly hard to live with. I’ve always been the first one up in my household, the first one out into the sun, and usually the last one to go back in. Not anymore. I can’t be outside during the height of sunlight without paying some serious consequences. More than that, I still have issues with asking others to adjust their schedules to accommodate my condition. It makes me feel selfish, but I don’t have much of a choice in the matter.
On the first morning in Tybee, we all got up extra early, so I could avoid the mid-day sun. I felt a little guilty for getting everyone out of bed so early, but no one complained.
We went down to the beach near the pier. We sat out our blankets, our cooler, and my umbrella. We were some of the first people on the entire beach. As I sat there, I watched people skitter out to the beach like sand crabs, stop at one spot and then another, finally settling on one spot, put their things down, slather on sunscreen, and do what comes naturally – play tag with the waves.
Young and old, black and white, coiffed and unkempt, tattooed and tattoo-free: All the people did exactly the same thing.
As the morning wore on, I struck up conversations with several people on the beach. Some were from Russia, the Ukraine, the Midwest, Canada, and Jamaica. All of them were smiling as we exchanged stories in different accents and shared our experiences. Not one person on the beach refused to talk to me or became angry because I ‘disturbed’ them. In that one special place, we were all the same. We all had limitations, strengths, weaknesses, triumphs, and stories to tell.
As the sun climbed higher in the sky, I put on my Janis Joplin T-Shirt (it’s as hideous as it sounds and, yes, it’s tie-died), my flip-flops, my sunglasses, and I walked to the pier. It’s actually a large pavilion as well as a pier. I got a cool drink from the drink stand, sat at a table, and listened to Jimmy Hendrix blare out of the speakers attached to the roof of the pavilion. The radio station was paying tribute to 1967 – the year I was born. As I sat there, I recalled that I had been born the very year that Jimmy Hendrix and Janis Joplin ‘hit the big-time’. It was also the year that John Coltrane died. The summer of 1967 was the Summer of Love and the year that Woodstock ‘happened‘.
I got up and puttered around the deck. I was drawn to a plaque on the wall. Apparently, Tybee Island Pavilion Pier was a hot spot in its hey-day. People came from all over to hear big bands swing and dance under the stars. In 1967, the pavilion burned to the ground. Then it struck me, how so much tragedy and so much love happened in the year that I was born, and how so many events had to conspire so that I could be standing in that exact spot, in front of that specific plaque, on this particular pier, at this one individual moment.
Then, I heard another song on the speakers. It was ‘Gimme Some Lovin’ by the Spencer Davis Group. My hips automatically began to sway. I threw my hands up in the air, shifted my weight, bobbed my head, and danced with reckless abandon. As I danced, I looked around me. The little girl in the Barbie bathing suit, the old man with the ice-cream cone, the young black man with the tattoo on his arm, the white kid with plaid swim trunks, and the chick with braids were dancing too.
We all danced as people looked on. Some joined us, some watched us, but no-body tried to stop us. It was a beautiful moment. Titles, bank accounts, status, wealth, and things like Lupus did not exist.
When the song was over, we skittered across the pavilion to our own private places of thought – I to my table, the old man to his bench, the young black man to the ice-cream stand, the chick with braids to the water fountain, the white kid to the men’s room, and the little girl in the Barbie bathing suit to her mama’s arms. Then I realized every moment is a huge conspiracy. God has set so many things in motion to culminate into one single moment for us to enjoy. It’s not how we got there that counts, but what we do with that moment that counts.
Here’s to making special moments happen in your life today. Just be open to it, and love yourself enough to just let go. And, if you get the chance, dance like a maniac.
Not familiar with Bruce Lee, you say? (Shriek!) He was only the greatest martial artist ever. Bruce Lee was so fast that, at the time, cameras could not capture his speed as illustrated here:
His punch was so powerful that he could knock a grown man flat from two inches away:
Bruce Lee was also a nutritionist, a philosopher, and a body-builder before any of these things were popular. He used his brain, body, and spirit to accomplish incredible feats. He pushed the limits, and then pushed some more. Bruce Lee changed the world with his intensity and dedication, and made all of our lives richer for having done so.
My husband changed my world, and continues to do so every day. How? By using affection and romance with a Bruce Lee intensity. He practices it everyday by sending me messages of affection, demonstrations of love, and creates romantic moments just for me. He can turn my worst moment around by offering up affection and a kind word at just the right moment.
We’re not born knowing how to do these things. It takes practice and patience. Lucky for me, my husband practices romance like Bruce Lee practiced Jeet Kune Do which, by the way, Mr. Lee invented.
Can you imagine how much the world would change if we all practiced our faith with Bruce Lee’s intensity?
Here’s to pushing our limits today, taking chances, and changing the world with God’s help and a faith that can’t be stopped.