christmas beach
By Debbie Lynn


We are in Road Bay, Anguilla—a small island with a small population.

It is late afternoon, quiet and unpopulated. Most of the activity on the island comes from tourists, tour boats and cruisers.  There is the faint sound of a dog barking in the background, the wind in the rigging and the birds chattering up a storm, vying for attention. The rest of the island sounds travel slowly and politely, just like the clouds overhead. It is sedate.

There are very few cars here. Most are for rent and sitting in empty spaces. The main mode of transportation is by foot with the soles bare to the ground. Life is simple, respectful and uncomplicated.

I observe a young boy at edge of the surf. He is in his own world and couldn’t be happier.

He seems to be about ten years old and is vividly reveling in his youth. He runs up and down the beach, adds a hop, adds a skip and talks to himself with expressive gestures and a smile.

He sees me and shyly grins. Knowing I am watching, he accelerates his gait, sprints down the shoreline jumping on, and then over the pier. He is proud of his speed and a bit of “chest-pumping” shows up in his tender attempt to be recognized as strong and fast. Little does he know, I do see it and he is already there.

His carefree play goes on for quite some time and it makes me wonder, reminisce and recall how childhood has this magical allure of nothingness, and that children have the unique way of making nothing into something—explosive and joyous—it is what they do.

He doesn’t have a phone in his hand or a toy.

He doesn’t have a playmate or siblings around; he has just himself, and he is content.  It is more than apparent that he has been raised (so far) to appreciate the gifts he has: strong legs, a joyful heart and a special place to live.

I am making an assumption now, but I would wager a guess his Christmas list is short and has a very small glimmer of expectation. But if the wishes are not met, I believe, he knows that a driftwood stick with a clump of seaweed can do the same thing as a golden toy sword.

Entitlements have turned our society inside out.

Every time I see a child with a tear or a smile I wonder what kind of a world we will leave them.

While wants and desires can work in our favor, propelling us to betterment, for the most part we desperately consume. The media drives us to constantly compare ourselves to others, to see if we are the haves or have-nots.

I don’t want a time machine to take us back to simpler ways or to go forward into the abyss. I just want all children to know their blessings and embrace them as so many so-called “under privileged” souls do.

Because “want” leads to suffering and there is truly enough of that in our world already.

This has nothing to do with religion, politics or geography; it has everything to do with basic human morals—or in one word, contentment. Our pot at the end of the rainbow, our half glass, our purpose and goals will all be met when we find serenity in our present situation (good, bad or indifferent).

Will life be less problematic? No. But getting a giggle out of a quick sprint that ramps up the adrenaline, takes our breath away, and reminds us all that our heart beats to many different drums is a sure path to happiness.  Why make it complicated when things are truly and wonderfully simple?

This is a truth. Those that deny this are those who live in deep drama and are in need of a huge dose of gratitude.  Like the children who can see through atrocities, their souls thrive in a smile. It is understood that simplicity of wisdom is only complicated when we make it so.

Now ask yourself in honesty, “What is it that you truly want?”

Photo: (source)

Editor: Sherrin Fitzer