The plastic baggie was neatly folded and nestled in a small plastic juice container. The cap was on there pretty good, so I gave it a little muscle to get it off. I was so excited by this find that I had to calm myself so I wouldn't tear up the contents as I tried to extricate the baggie from the bottle. What I found inside the baggie was this:
When I saw this, I couldn't help but smile. I even teared up a little. At that moment, it didn't seem so bad that 1) I'd run out of chicken food; 2) we've been without hot water for six days; 3) my hair and my kitchen are pretty dirty 4) the car battery died this morning so I can't get the chicken food or the parts necessary to fix the hot water heater.
All these little things that seemed like such a drag were quickly put into perspective by Nicholas' happy drawing. Instead of focusing on these inconveniences, I started wondering who Nicholas was and where he lives. Who is that with him in the drawing? His mom? Sister? Is that even him in the picture? Was this "message in a bottle" part of a school project? Did he realize he'd change the course of a person's day by sending his drawing out to sea?
I am constantly reminded of how cyclical life is. The ups and downs of life that seem to occur on an almost daily basis. As I get older (and wiser, I hope!) my faith in the pendulum swinging back around, returning me to a place of balance and joy, grows stronger. That saying "you've got to take the bitter with the sweet" is all too real. Sometimes I tolerate those bitter times with grace. Sometimes not. But no matter what, I have absolute faith in that cycle. It is that faith that provides me with comfort when I am faced with life's hardships, big or small.
And so, we'll boost the car. We'll have hot water back by tomorrow (fingers crossed!). And in the meantime I'll heat water to wash dishes and I'll make sure the chickens get plenty of grass. And despite my greasy hair, I'll remind myself that basically, my life is pretty kick-ass. Thanks, Nicholas...