| from Melissa Hannigan |

As I watched the sunrise one morning while on vacation at the beach, I waited expectantly. I watched and waited for that moment the sun crests the horizon and bright colors burst forth revealing the golden sun. I kept watching, kept waiting.
There were signs that it was about to happen. The sky’s gradual shift from dark blue to soft oranges and pinks, whispers of what was to come but not yet there. 

Yet the glorious, bright moment I was expectantly waiting for never happened. You see there were clouds in the horizon blocking the dramatic view of the sun bursting forth from sleep. I was hoping the clouds were not thick enough to block the view, that the sun would still shine through. But no such luck.
Now, don’t get me wrong it was still a beautiful sight but I was not satisfied. My expectations of a dramatic sun bursting froth from darkness, bright colors blazing and pinks and oranges spreading across my view, just did not happen. Honestly, it made me a little grumpy. I’m embarrassed to say but I was mad because I woke up early while on vacation to see this thing that I was expecting and I was disappointed, dare I say a little irritated. And yet despite my dissatisfaction and irritation, the sun continued to rise. 

The sky did transform before my eyes, giving me evidence that the sun was in fact rising and yet I was still waiting for what I was expecting, instead of taking in the gift that was unfolding before my eyes. 

And isn’t this just like times in life when our expectations of how any season should look differs from our reality and it leaves us dissatisfied. Instead of beholding the beauty right before our eyes we are fixated on what isn’t like we expected. For me, I could get caught up in how my child “should” be progressing academically or with milestones, watching and waiting for them to live up to my idea of what they should be doing and completely miss the magic of right where they were. Or how I stress about how our home “should” look, comparing our lives to some social media ideal instead of marveling at the magical mess that God allows me to participate in right before my eyes. 
All the time that I allow my expectations of what I think things should look like steals the joy of the miracles unfolding right before my eyes. Because there are plenty of those miracles every day, if we open our eyes to see them. 

So that morning on the beach I am thankful for this lesson. It wasn’t until the sun got quite a bit higher than the horizon that rays of light began to leak through the clouds and the truth hit me. The sun was in fact rising before my eyes. The miracle of a another day was bursting forth. And I almost missed it because it wasn’t living up to my expectation. 
The sun was going to rise either way, but I had the chance to savor it or miss it. And I’m so glad I didn’t miss it! 
Darkness can not keep out the light. My expectations don’t stop my life from unfolding. The sun always rises even if I can’t see it and magic takes place right before my eyes each day. 
We have a choice to make, we can become disappointed because the sun is not rising the way we expected or we can enjoy each new day as the gift from God that it truly is. 
I am working on letting go of my “should’s” and embracing the “what is.” How about you? Is there an area of your life that you’re allowing expectations to steal your joy? How can you embrace the magical mess that God has entrusted to you while you enjoy the view? May we all look for the miracles that God gives each day and be grateful!