Sunday, March 21, 2010

Unexpected Light

I finished reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Or, should I say, listening to it in 10-minute spurts every time I got in the car to drive to karate lessons or the playground. It has changed the way I think about a lot of things, and although the author probably had no intent of inspiring a new sense of spirituality, it has given me a new perspective on the ways that Allah swt shapes our lives.

I will write more about it later, but for now, I will tell you how a simple trip to our local park was transformed by a “coincidental string of successes.”

We wanted to take the girls out somewhere on our weekly family outing, but it was late, my husband was tired, and there were not many options within a 20-minute drive. We drove to a nearby nature reserve, but discovered that it closed at 5 p.m. Wandering the roads, my husband decided we would just go to the neighborhood park.

I sighed internally. I went there at least two, three times a week. The kids rode their bikes, we watched the ducks, played on the playground. It was nothing outside of our ordinary routine. I wasn’t optimistic.

But it was no ordinary evening at the park, in ways that I would not have expected.

The way the sunlight shone through feathers and sparkled on the water.

ducks in water

The light was just right, and I worked the manual settings on my camera. I was learning things.

sunset on bay area lake

The baby was content and glowed in the setting sun.

looking at the sky

A couple was fishing with their grandchildren in the pond. When we came closer to see what they were doing, we discovered they were using chicken bones to fish for blue crabs. They gave us their improvised sticks and bones before they left, and our girls delighted in casting out the bait and instantly feeling the crabs tug at the rope. Slowly they drew in the lines and watch the crabs scuttle after the bones, sometimes coming out of the water. The children’s eyes danced with excitement well after the sun had set and we piled back into the car.

Moments in our lives can be transformed by the unexpected little circumstances that Allah puts in our path and situations that no amount of planning or money can guarantee—the light, the moods, the wind, the smiles.

windmill at sunset