The gritty sand massaged my feet as the sun’s heat beat down, masking the flulike symptoms that
I always feel—making the warmth on my skin seem natural. And as the water repeatedly encased my feet, trying to lure me in, I couldn’t help staring at the horizon. If God can create all of this majesty that somehow balances itself out, I can rest assured that He has a plan even for my life. There’s beauty in the mess. There’s joy even in the heartache.
“Careful: Turtle Season” a nearby sign read, boasting a gorgeous picture of tortugas “turtles” bursting from their shells. I’d seen a documentary once; it said very few turtles actually make it to the ocean. I spied bird feathers next to broken eggs then. Birds had obviously ravaged a nest, yet next to me, little marks patterned the sand, and I knew one of the baby turtles MUST have survived. Sure it was only one … but that exhibited something powerful: hope.
“Excuse me,” a man said, shaking me from my surreal moment in Mexico. “This might sound strange, but didn’t I see you in a wheelchair earlier?”
His wife had come to stand next to him, and Mike sauntered over as well.
“My parents rented me a scooter,” I said.
They blinked, obviously wanting to hear more.
“I have stage 4 cancer. Last year the doctor gave me two years to live …”
“She has a hard time walking long distances,” Mike said, “after a surgery to remove a tumor.”
Their eyes grew larger.
“My parents refuse to lose hope about my diagnosis, but I know they worry—and they wanted me to have a nice trip.” I took in a long breath and sighed. “It IS good to see the ocean again …” I turned to the waves and thought how none of us truly know when it’ll be the last time seeing the ocean, a snow-crested mountain, or the first bloom of spring.
“Well,” the man said, then looked to his wife who nodded, “no matter what you’re facing we wanted to tell you that you’re making a positive impact on other people’s lives. You waved to us from your scooter on our first day here … and my wife kept talking about how sweet you were—this whole time.”
The woman smiled at me, so kindly. “You look great,” she said. “You’d never know anything was amiss.”
“I think this weather has been awesome for me. I swear I’m standing straighter and feeling better every day.” I grinned.
“It’s so snowy back home,” Mike said.
“I knew it!” The man beamed. “You’re like us—you’re from Canada. That’s why you’re so nice.”
Mike and I burst out laughing. “We’re from Idaho.”
“That’s … close enough!” the man said. Then the couple left and as my parents joined us on the beach, I couldn’t get over how great it felt to be spending time with them in paradise.