The Keys (to happiness)

8 Mar

I just spent a week in the Florida keys and it felt a lot like a clearing of my mind, a softening of my demeanor, a time of grace.
So often my thoughts are swallows trapped in an attic, beating against the roof until they grow weary and broken.
That week, there was stillness.
I could see the color of the waters below- the milky turquoise with horizontal swirls of purples and grays, fading into a light emerald at certain moments.

The way I measure my life is not by age or event but by place. Right or wrong, I throw out the time line and use a map as my point of reference.

When I traveled to_____ I realized_________.
The time I spent in___________, I changed.

I expected the same for the trip- I am outside of my current day-to-day life, so I should be able to reflect, revel, respond.
But this time I felt simply empty-headed in the best sort of way.
There was a deep peace that not just filled me, but surrounded me. It was like the difference between drinking salty ocean water and being immersed in it, not needing to even come up for air because you have a snorkel.

Our group immediately clicked into this rhythm of knowing what we wanted as a whole and going for it. There was not too much need for debate or to figure things out. We sat on the deck or on beach chairs by the water or around a table or on a long leather couch. Conversations revolved around laughter from the days events, what this particular song on the guitar meant, other places of beauty visited, and mostly the unfathomable grace of God.

We woke up with the sun rising over the sea, streaming in through big windows. No one really wanted to sleep in. We kayaked, snorkeled, walked around Key West, visited Ernest Hemingway’s home and the Southern most point of the United States.

I cooked, and found (as I always do) such a simple joy and fulfillment in the creative process, the chopping of the fresh ingredients, the mixing of flavors. Lemon, lime, garlic, olive oil.  Fresh seafood abounding. Yellow snapper we caught ourselves in the mangroves. Fat, succulent shrimp. Crisp green asparagus, pasta, rice cooked in coconut juice straight from the front yard. It felt like enough to set a grand table, feed the people I love, it felt like something extraordinary like this is what I was born to do.

The nice thing about this trip, is I didn’t try to figure anything out. That was a miracle for me.
I simply was. I simply embraced all that was around me, and felt ok.
I soaked in sun, sea water, love.
When I came back and was falling asleep in my apartment, thinking about how I wasn’t by the ocean but in the middle of Texas, wondering if I could be ok and feel the freedom and peace I did there, wondering how long it would be before those pesky swallows came back and the questions and doubts bombarded me, before the wanderlust took heed and suffocated me with the need to leave.

In the middle of that, I had this thought, that overtook me, filling my being with color and light.

You have an ocean in you.

That wonder and sense of awe of being around something as enormous and other as the ocean, that peace, that clarity, I already have those things.

Because I have the living God in me.

Love, grace, peace, security, purpose, meaning, passion, connectedness, it is all mine.

There is no need to search, I already have what I am looking for.

3 Responses to “The Keys (to happiness)”

  1. Rebecca March 8, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    this gives me hope

  2. Becca March 10, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    Well-written. Well said. Mmm.


  1. Twenty-Eleven, In Moments. « - January 1, 2012

    […] in the Florida Keys with my favorite people was one of the most unexpected blessings and great adventures of my year. […]

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