My family just returned from a too-short vacation on the South Carolina coast. We shared three wonderful days throughout which the beauty of long walks at low tide, playing catch and eating hushpuppies and ice cream cones outshone the ugliness of Batten disease.
At the end of the third and final evening, after a good-natured but protracted Scrabble battle, we all sank into our beds much too late. Just a few hours later, in the dead of night, my mom’s cell phone rang. As we awakened one by one and struggled to comprehend the information the caller shared, our beautiful weekend dissolved.
We did not return to bed that night. Several hours later, I floated out to the balcony of our beachfront condo; my legs felt as though they were not my own. At the very moment in which I leaned on the railing and exhaled, a pinpoint of light appeared on the eastern horizon. I stood, transfixed, and watched as invisible hands lifted a glowing disc of fire into the blue-gray sky and chased the darkness away.
As beautiful as that sunrise was, I would have missed it 1,000 times for the chance to erase the event that precipitated that phone call. But the sun still rises, no matter what happens while it is away. Every morning, it arrives, regardless of the forecast. And I know that no matter how desperate our situation becomes as time goes on, I can’t ever stop believing in our ability to find beauty among all that ugliness.