Fresh Cuts Blog

Draw a map of your heart.

That was the pre-school assignment given several years ago to my youngest daughter.  Elizabeth intuitively knew her heart’s pathway and the people and places that buoyed her development. While I was pleased to see that her parents and sister were represented, I was most touched that “the beach house” took up a considerable amount of space.

“The beach house” was a reference to our friends’ Bethany Beach retreat in Delaware and the friendships forged by the sea. Our neighborhood friends, Steve and Cheryl, started a most cherished tradition years ago when they invited our family and another neighborhood family to join them for a few days at the beach. I recall laughing so much that weekend that my face hurt. Since then, a season has not passed without a carefree respite with our dear friends, making more treasured memories for all of us.

This past weekend, we returned to beach to celebrate Cheryl’s birthday. As we laughed our way through another weekend of beachcombing, family-style dinners, games of Sorry!, college football on the big screen, tie-dye T-shirt making, and hammock swinging, a blissful smile never left Cheryl’s face. As she blew out her birthday candles and opened her cards and gifts, tears of contented, blessed joy ran down her cheeks. She repeatedly thanked and hugged us. Cheryl told us how much she loved us and how happy it made her to celebrate her birthday with all of us.

That is Cheryl. She lets her loved ones know that the map of her grateful heart includes them. She makes one feel loved, accepted, supported and even forgiven when forgiveness is needed.

Where will the map of your heart take you this season?

May your heart travel to the people who have shaped you, the friends who sustain you, and the places that allow your spirit to soar.