Some days are inexplicably difficult. There's no good reason for them to be challenging, but they just are. Sometimes the workload and the number of hours in which to do it all doesn't quite add up. Sometimes expectations are extremely difficult to live up to (mostly my own.) And sometimes the discouragement and doubt settles in where I don't expect it to.
I felt like that most of today. Despite starting Institute again, which I have missed so much over the last three months, and despite having lunch with three of the most enjoyable people I know, I felt a little flat and hopeless.
At 2:30, I scooped up Megan from school, turned up the music, and invited her to come with me on a quest to find something beautiful in the day. We chatted about her day while we looked for something unexpected in the ordinary places we've driven a thousand times.
And then we found it! A little gravel road with an open gate! We nearly missed it as we sped by with all the traffic around us, but we had just enough time to make a bit of an abrupt turn off the main road. I have come to love that feeling of uneven terrain under the tires, and weeds right up to the windows beside me. In my brief experience, those back roads almost always open up to some hayfield or barn, or some other beautiful, unexpected thing. I didn't even have my camera with me. Just my phone. But I told Megan to keep her eyes open for anything she thought was beautiful. She took a few pictures of some purple wildflowers and a really tall, really thorny bush from the window of the Jeep. And then, almost at the end of our gravel road, we found this...
one tiny, immovable, yellow sunflower in a field of drab, ordinary weeds. If I had been driving any faster I would have missed it. I stopped the car and jumped out, snapped one quick picture and off we drove back home.
That's how I can always tell it's been a successful trip. When something catches me by surprise or takes my breath away enough to make me get out of the car and take a picture of it, then I can go home without regrets. And almost always, it only takes one shot to catch it.
Our mini adventure only took about 30 minutes. We made it home in time for homework, practices, and dinner prep to continue as scheduled, but what a great little break it was. That little yellow flower and Megan's sunny personality were exactly what I needed to remind me that there is always, always something in every single day to be grateful for; sometimes you just have to hunt for it.