The man raked and raked the seaweed on the beach. As much as he gathered, the waves brought in more. Why not use a machine? It would be faster and more efficient. It would take less effort, less manpower.
Maybe that’s the point.
Perhaps efficiency isn’t always the goal. Without the mechanical raker, more people had jobs. More people could support their families. That money could ripple through the community. Without the mechanical raker, there was less noise. The swish, swish of the rake against the dry seaweed and sand was soothing along with the lapping waves. The mechanical raker might be faster, but it would also be disruptive.
There was yet another benefit to the manpower. As the raker worked, he interacted with people. He asked how people’s days were going. People asked him questions about the process of raking and his everyday life. He was friendly; he could work and talk at the same time. There was an invitation of connection that could never be possible from behind a mechanical raker.
You might prefer the easy way much of the time. Take a moment and consider what you might be missing. Easier isn’t always best.
I sat on the beach the first full morning of vacation. It wasn’t as warm as I expected. In fact, it was cloudy, windy, borderline chilly (although it would have seemed balmy, even steamy, if I had been home in central Illinois). Despite the feel, it was beautiful. I was able to sit outside, bare feet in the sand, no coat. The waves lapped the shoreline. The trees gently rustled. The birds chirped. The sun intermittently shined despite the looming cloud.
I had a choice. I could focus on the dark cloud and chilly breeze or the sunshine and warmth. It’s a choice I have to make every day…multiple times every day. I can focus on the inconveniences or blessings. My choice doesn’t mean I ignore reality. A cloud can hang, but it’s not the only thing in the sky.
I looked at the cloud and felt the chill, then I changed my focus. I felt warmth. I saw a peek of sun. I thought of someone close to me who chooses to look at the sun every day despite the looming cloud. It’s a dark, depressing cloud, but the sun peeks through. Even when it doesn’t, the sun is still there. It doesn’t go away.
What dark cloud is looming over you? Keep it in the context of the entire sky. Do you know someone with a dark cloud in his or her life? Acknowledge it but don’t focus on it. Talk about other things, too. A dark cloud doesn’t define his or her life…or yours.
Soak up the peeks of sun, listen to the waves, see the big picture. The sky is vast. So are the possibilities, not just for tomorrow but for right now.