Stutzman: You never know how many you will get

A couple of weeks ago I was a bit frazzled trying to leave my house in the morning. It was one of my first days back to work after maternity leave, our 3-year-old was giving me a run for my money in the crabby department, our newborn was fussing because he was getting hungry, and to top it all off I was running late and I had a headache.

A wrinkle in my daughter’s sock sent her into a tizzy and our son hates being buckled and scrunched into a car seat. I was running around trying not to forget the six bags I had to lug to the car. Did I pack myself a lunch? Did I pack my daughter’s snowpants? Did I make sure the baby had an extra outfit? Did I label the bottles for daycare? Did I feed the dog? Did I remember to change out of my pajamas and put work clothes on? It was a frantic morning.

As I turned out of our driveway and pulled up to the corner I saw the side of an old three-story brick building lit up with a vibrant glow. It caught my eye because each brick looked like it was on fire. I looked toward the east to see the source of the glow and saw the most amazing sunrise I’ve ever witnessed. It wasn’t one of those purple and pink numbers that covers the sky with a beautiful cotton candy blanket. It was a soul warming glow from a colossal golden-orange orb peeking up over the sleepy waves of Lake Huron casting piercing rays of fiery light to all corners of Northeast Michigan.

Obviously, we’re known as the Sunrise Side so beautiful sunrises are nothing new for those of us who have lived here most our lives. We’ve seen volumes of sun shows. This one was different and literally took my breath away. I suddenly forgot about everything else and took a detour to the boat harbor. It wasn’t so bright that I couldn’t look directly at it so I sat for a moment and stared; wanting to soak it all in before I had to go. I rolled down the back window so my daughter to take a peek.

I paused for only a little more than a minute. The school shooting in Sandy Hook was still fresh. I paused and thought of how grateful I am to be able to wake up and see a sunrise. I thought of my children and how precious they are to me. I reflected upon many other things in that brief moment even though I knew I would be late for work. In that moment I thought of all the things in my life that are most precious. My family and my friends and the time I have to spend with them. I put the car in drive and turned back toward the day ahead and took a deep breath.

As I drove over the Second Avenue bridge I glanced to the left and saw two men fishing. I glanced to the right and was once again blown away. The glow of the sun extended down the glassy surface of the Thunder Bay River and warmed my heart. As I passed the post office I pushed on the brakes no less than five times, wishing I could stop again to take another look. As I neared St. Mary’s church I checked my mirrors and turned around. I went back to the bridge, stopped in the middle of the street and took a picture before motoring on with the rest of my day.

Sometimes I believe it’s OK to take a moment to experience life. The emails could wait. The voice messages could wait. The paper shuffling could wait. A greater force was telling me that I needed to take two minutes and pause. Pause to reflect and pause to remind myself how important it is to be grateful for each day we are given. We never know when our card is up. We never know when those we love will be taken from us. Make sure you pause and appreciate your sunrises. You never know how many you will get.

Mary Beth Stutzman’s Inspiring A-Town appears bi-weekly on Tuesdays.