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This is a picture of my youngest granddaughter. I have three, and they are all beautiful, graceful, and talented. Biased perhaps, but there it is.

This vacation picture her mother sent to me struck a chord. Just look at her. She is five years old and is strutting across the beach like she owns it. And she does!

Shoulders back, head tipped a little forward, eyes straight ahead. How did she get to be so confident? Well, from her parents certainly, and all of us who love her, but she embodies what we wish for all children, a sense that she is special and that the world is a beautiful place.

Let's be real though. Life is not endless beaches and sunny skies. There are challenges to be faced. And sometimes the dragon wins. But in this captured moment in time, none of that matters. She is just being. She is in the moment. She neither fears the future nor regrets the past.

How I envy her at this moment. Oh, I do have beach envy, but it's more than that. I want to recapture the time in my life when I knew the world was mine for the taking. I want to recapture the confidence and certainty that most people in this world are good and wish each other well. I want to recapture the joy of now!

I sip my tea and it warms me. Not just the temperature, but the taste. Summer is green and glowing around me, and the cool morning air wafts in from the window and soothes me. I listen to the birds chirping and the children playing outside with unbridled energy, and I smile. For a moment, I forget all else. For this moment I walk spiritually with my granddaughter and I just am.

I know I can't hold this moment forever, but I can cherish it when I can, for as long as I can. For those of us who are hip deep in the quagmire of little and large things that distract, it takes a conscious effort to savor these moments. Worth the effort though. It calms the heart and heals the soul.

I have often thought that the greatest gift God gave us, besides His love of course, is the ability to think abstractly, to imagine, and to dream. I don't know for certain, but I think we are the only creatures who are capable of that. It is a double-sided gift. We can dream of amazing worlds where all is well or worry and rage at all things frightening and uncertain.

Strut or not. It is a choice.

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