Ahhhh…this was the life! We were on a family vacation at the beach on Kenya’s coast at Malindi. We liked going there because there was no reef to block the waves, which the boys, particularly loved jumping. We could rent an entire house cheaply and still have money enough left over to hire a cook. Those days are long gone! On this particular day, we had packed up a basket of necessary items and all made our way down to the beach for an afternoon of frolic.

Chip and the boys were exuberantly jumping waves in the Indian Ocean, while I stayed on the beach, keeping an eye on baby Amanda, then around 2 years old. We had our faithful video camera with us to be sure to record each precious and darling thing the kids did, for the sake of our parents back in the U.S. We were convinced they spent hours watching these videos of their darling descendants, oohing and aaahhing over the cute antics. (Of course, now that we are grandparents, we know better!)

So, there I was recording Amanda on the beach and the guys out in the ocean, now only dots bobbing in the waves, drifting with the tide (gosh, I wish they wouldn’t go out so far!). I turned the camera back to Darling Daughter in time to catch her in a true fashion model pose. This was not being done intentionally, mind you, as she was unaware of what mommy was doing. I just happened to catch her in one of her many daydreaming episodes and caught her in a model-type stance, with hand brushing hair from her face, gazing out at the ocean in a pensive attitude. (Oh, yes, this is surely Oscar-type material!). I try another clip of the guys, bobbing in the ocean, but this makes me anxious as they are even farther out than before. I consider yelling for Chip to be more careful about going out so far, but quickly realize the futility of such an exercise as the wind was stiff and the waves would drown out what the wind did not already snatch away of my voice.

So, I turned the camera back to Amanda, who had by this time changed her pose to squatting, while she explored the shells, seaweed, and sand-colored tiny crabs which scuttled along the shore. (Awwww, how cute! She looks like a miniature marine biologist. The folks will love this!)

Well, the guys managed to get back to shore without drowning (I was not fully convinced they would until I could see the whites of their eyes as they trudged back), Amanda had finished her explorations, we packed up and trudged back, returning to the rented house exhausted but happy. I was looking forward to the kids sleeping heavily after their exertions (the things parents really look forward to on vacation).

It wasn’t until some time later that we finally got around to viewing the video tape in preparation for editing it for grandparents (by this time after 3 kids, we realized that it’s not best to send videos of entire breakfasts full of parents’ inane talk and the cute kids’ ceaseless, incomprehensible chatter). I was enjoying the scenes on our TV screen, reliving fond memories, when suddenly one arrested my attention, first horrifying me, then eliciting peals of laughter. Remember the marine biologist scene starring Darling Daughter? It turned out to actually be Darling Daughter relieving herself on the beach, the lengthening stream of liquid building up below her squatting form! What?! How on earth could I have missed that? It was then that I realized that what we saw through the camera’s view finder was not always an accurate representation of reality. Some things were not visible through that view finder that became abundantly and crisply clear when viewed on the larger, higher definition screen.

But isn’t life often like that? I am reminded of the Bible verse that says, “for now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face” (1 Corinthians 13:12, ESV). Things in this life are not always as they may seem to us, at least initially. But if we can be patient and give the events and experiences of our lives time, we may gain more clarity. I am amazed at the number of times I was convinced I understood a situation with such accuracy but after reviewing it again after the passage of time and perhaps after receiving fresh perspective from a good friend, suddenly the incident looked different and much clearer. This has taught me to not pass judgement quite so quickly on something someone says or does, or an incident which has happened to me. I am learning to wait, to give it some thought and time; to talk with a trusted friend and evaluate before acting. Naturally, it is not always possible to reserve action on all occasions, and there is always the tendency to make snap judgments and responses, but I like to think I am learning. Things are simply not always as they first appear

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