10/01/2012 12:31 pm ET Updated Dec 01, 2012

Finding the Poetry of Life

Sometimes it's easy to spot: a baby's smile, a puppy's jump, a seashell's lines, a cello's echo. It's there somewhere in every little thing: the poetry of life. There is a rhythm, a balance, a harmony, though sometimes we have to search for it. Once found, we can enjoy the beauty of that feeling, that discovery, that joy!

Today as I walked on the beach, I looked for seashells, and most were broken and battered by the sea, just like people. When I picked them up, they had achieved interesting abstract shapes and sizes, and while different than their once-perfect starting places in life, had a certain patina and weathered look to them. They had character.

I once asked my father whether life became any easier with time and he answered honestly, "No, it becomes more difficult. The challenges are tougher." And maybe they are. But our life skills are also better, so hopefully we can cope with the challenges much better. A friend of mine had a tough one this week, and I wanted to see whether I could help him find the poetry in it.

Idealist and artist that I believe myself to be, I believe the poetry to be there in everything. You see, while some of us wait to see which colleges our children will be accepted to, or whether or not a new recipe came out right, some folks have it really tough. In my friend's case, he has a son awaiting sentencing in jail.

As hard as it is to parent, my friend has been loving and exemplary. What his son has done with his life is a compilation of the son's choices, and life for my friend will continue on no matter what. He has been at his son's side though thick and thin and has tried not to judge his son too harshly, focusing instead on rehab opportunities, hoping that the judge would agree. Many parents would have thrown in the towel long ago. While I don't know the outcome, I do know that the father is the poetry here.

Then, a text came, as they tend to do. Instead of the straightforward information that usually comes with the "running late, order without me" type of communication, this was was altogether different. It talked about the expectations of time and how much of my friend's seemed like a dream. Finding the poetry of life in a text message --literally -- is a treat right up there with ice cream.

You try it. See whether you can find the poetry in preparing your taxes, your upcoming colonoscopy, or being fired. I promise you it is there. Maybe it is reminiscing over a fabulous trip you took, or it will have saved your life. Maybe it is the opening of a new door. But it is there. Oh, yes, the poetry of life is everywhere. You have only to look for it.

And, as far as my walk on the beach tomorrow, I will try to find the poetry in the funny-looking crabs that were out this morning. Maybe it's their sideways walk...


Happy trails... I'm Patricia Rust

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