The misty mornings that envelope the Carolina beaches are ones to inspire. I spend most of my mornings walking the shore in search of a deeper understanding of life and peace.

Losing contentment is a battle that I daily face. Fortunately, though, the beach serves as a middle ground between utter defeat and ultimate happiness. It is my sanctuary, if you will.

Last week I was facing a particular difficult challenge. I had lost my contract with a local art museum. It seems that some other, more talented, artist had shown interest in some space. Being as I have not sold one painting in 7 months, I was the first to be booted. It was not a surprise really, just a reality.

It was then when I was walking along the beach trying to find purpose in my failure, that I saw it. I could see a glimmer of gold in the wet sand. It sparkled although the sun was barely out that morning. When I got closer, I saw that it was a locket. I gently wiped the sand from the top of the oval pendant. There was a cross engraved on the front with a tiny diamond in its center. It was beautiful, and I knew that someone must have really been missing it.

When I opened it, a small piece of paper fell to the ground. I bent over, picked it up, and read:

Blessings often come from loss, because it is loss that forces thanksgiving.

These words offered me a sense peace. I went home and made a list of everything that I was thankful for, right down to the shoes on my feet. Within a week, I was offered a job at the local college teaching art classes. The pay was more than I had ever hoped for myself. I do not believe that I would have ever been bold enough to take a step passed failure if I had not dug up that locket and read those words.

Now I find myself walking along those very same beaches thinking, not of what I need or desire out of life, but what I have and love about life.

-Vanessa K. Eccles
(c) Copyright 2009

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