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Run into the arms of tomorrow

As I sat in the lobby of a hotel recently while visiting my daughter and granddaughter in Florida, I had the pleasure of seeing a family reunited. 

The grandmother was sitting near me when her three small grandchildren rushed through the lobby doors. The little girls ran as fast as they could, jumped into her arms as tears formed in her eyes. Her daughter followed the racing girls and embraced her mother for far more than seconds. Their happiness overwhelmed me, and I found myself smiling from ear to ear underneath my mask. Who knows how long it had been since their last embrace, the last sound of children squealing as they ran to Grandma’s open arms? However, as of that moment, the distance and longing for a family finally ended. I recall years ago when my now 16-year-old granddaughter was young and flew to Atlanta for visits, she would run as fast as she could into my arms. There is no better feeling in the world than to know you are loved by an innocent child. The exuberant affection little children proudly display is a beautiful moment in time that we all too often do not appreciate. 

Before we know it, the grandchild is grown, and the grandmother is gone. What remains is the memory of a love that has left an indelible mark within our souls. Perhaps, our COVID isolation taught us to be more thankful for our time together, our reunions, our hugs, laughter, and our loves. 

The virus took away so much for so many. I have always said when we go through challenging times in our lives, we come through hardship one of two ways. Either we will be filled with resentment that we endured such pain, or we are filled with gratitude and relish the fact we survived.  Our love is intensified when we choose to forge forward with hope. Our faith becomes more crucial if we choose to see God in all things. Living becomes more joyful if we choose to not succumb to bitterness. We become like the child whose love is racing into open arms without fear of rejection. Those who put others first during this crisis instead of personal ideology teach others to persevere through adversity. They are the ones who will lead us to a healthier tomorrow and put us in touch with our better selves. These unselfish souls should be heralded as the light of the world, the gatekeepers, and torchbearers for our children. I do not know about you, but I am tired of the anti-this and that, the egos, the selfishness, the fights, the nasty anger, and the hate. What good is it to welcome a new day when we are still stuck in the anguish of yesterday? What innocent child would rush to such behavior? We, instead, must be grateful we are still here to savor a tomorrow. There are 2.7 million people in our world who will never greet another day, yet only a year ago were embracing their families.  Instead of complaining about how horrible life is, maybe we should be applauding the ability to simply breathe.  As I drove home from Florida, tears welled in my eyes as they always do when I leave my family.  Since my children live in other states spread across the country, I often feel sorry for myself that I cannot see them more often. While other grandparents complain about their children not coming for Sunday dinner, I just pray to soon see mine again on some unknown future day.  

After we traveled a few miles, the tears quickly dried. This time I relished those moments with the 16-year-old who no longer runs into my arms and the daughter who is in the busy, difficult time of life caring for a teenager.  Before COVID, I would cry for a whole day; now, why spend a day in tears? I would rather not waste any days. I feel I owe it to those who do not have another day to make my days count for good. I choose a better tomorrow instead of a bitter tomorrow. I will ask God to forgive my errors as I forgive others. I pray for the guidance to forge a path for those who once ran into my arms. Hugs, smiles, touches, family, and friends are the joy of my life, and how blessed I am to live another day to treasure them all. After a year of difficulty, I choose to be like the child who runs with wild abandonment towards tomorrow with open arms.  

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