There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”
I wanted him to play a meaningful song.
The acoustic singer/guitarist on the pier at my favorite restaurant, in my favorite place in the world, had performed some great tunes so far – Dave Mathew’s Band, some old Hootie and the Blowfish hits – but nothing that had moved me. And I was in the mood to be moved.
I’d arrived at the beach four days earlier hoping to reflect and regroup after one of the most challenging, and, well, strange years I could remember; and for the most part, I’d done just that. I’d kayaked through the beautiful ocean sound, alone out there on the clear, blue water, admiring the houses, the wildlife. I’d swam in the sea, felt like a five-year-old again as the waves crashed over me, carrying me a few feet closer to shore each time. I’d read a great book while laying out in the sand, getting so engrossed in the story that I hardly remembered to stop and reapply sunscreen. And I’d watched the sun rise each morning a midst perhaps the most beautiful backdrop I knew – the dunes of the Atlantic coast. Now, to close it out, to go with the velvety red wine I was slowly sipping on the oceanfront pier, I just needed a meaningful song. I didn’t know what song, but being obsessed with song lyrics as I was, I just wanted some good ones. A sign, something that would spark a little inspiration…
“When I find myself in times of trouble…”
And there it was.
“Let it be.”
The tears immediately began to fall as I softly sang along, overwhelmed by the significance to the year I’d had. My dad’s sudden and unexpected passing, a cold, gloomy Midwestern winter (and spring) that amplified my feelings of being trapped, a significant knee injury that took away my lone outlet for my worry, anxiety, and sadness, all while I was making my way through the uncertainty of a huge life transition: going back to school and switching to a completely different career path. There had been so many things the past eight months that made me stop and ask “Why?” Not “Why me?,” in a whiny sort of way,” but rather “Why this?,” and “Why now?”
“There will be an answer… Let it be.”
My dad had a way of calming me that no one else does, of talking me down from my endless worrying and wondering. Consequently, it’s the tough times evoked by his passing that have made me miss him the most. On that pier Thursday night, it was as though I heard his voice.
I traveled to the North Carolina coast searching for answers, but the most significant answer I walked away with is that for now, I need to stop searching for them. Stop looking so hard and simply trust that there will be one… eventually. Just like so many other times in my life when I’ve wondered why?, that song, that trip helped remind me the importance of having faith that the answer will come to you when the time is right.
Perhaps when you’re not even looking for it.
After the song ended last Thursday, I sat there on the pier and flipped through my pictures at sunrise the previous day. I’d gone to great lengths to take one of the number “13” written in the sand. Two years prior, at the beach on a work trip, I’d written the number 12. Stressed and burnt out, I’d wanted the number to remind me that in 2012, I’d get to go back to school and follow my passion. The photo set as my phone backdrop motivated me throughout the following year, but I realized this year that 2012 was still my backdrop, which didn’t seem right. Whatever the significance of 2013, I had to embrace that, and change the picture accordingly. So I did. After a few snapshots of just the sunrise and the sand, I used my pointer finger to trace a gigantic “13.”
But I hadn’t needed to.
Looking back through my photos while sitting on that pier, I realized that without my even noticing, I’d been beaten to the punch. What did it mean, that “13” written in the sky, the only clouds in a sea of blue? I don’t know yet, just like I don’t know so many others answers about this year 2013. But it served as still another reminder to just let go, to trust that the answers will come.
And of course… to keep looking up.