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Asking and Getting: Mediterranean Sunset in Valencia, Spain

“Asking isn’t as easy as they say and that is because you get what you ask for.”

“Well, isn’t that the idea?” I replied to my brother as we walked along the Mediterranean beach in Valencia with the setting sun penetrating both the sky and the water, infusing them with the same deep blue, red, and orange hues. Breath-taking!

Sunset on the beach in Valencia
A Mediterranean sunset. Photo by Darcie Khanukayev

With Easter upon us, it seems natural to contemplate the deeper “stuff”, to turn inward and perhaps do an internal spring cleaning. We may ask ourselves: ˝what do I want to continue developing as the days grow longer and the flowers and birds come to life once again? And what do I want to discard?˝

At least that is what my siblings and I pondered under the dramatic Valencia sky. It was the first time they were visiting and as we explored the sea, the mountains and the towns together, our conversation got philosophical.

˝I read about Julia Butterfly, a girl who lived in an old-growth Redwood tree in California for two years in order to protect it. There was a point in her protest that she was tiring, so she put her hands together and asked for strength to persevere˝.

˝She got what she wanted,˝ continued my brother, ˝but soon after her prayer, the loggers sent out helicopters that buzzed around her day and night for two weeks. It also began pelting rain, nonstop for the same two weeks.˝

˝When she was at the point of collapse, in another prayer she asked angrily why she was being beaten down instead of helped! When she could gather herself together, the answer came,˝ continued my brother, ˝one gets stronger by overcoming adversity, not by having things come easily. She had gotten what she asked for. She needed to connect with her inner strength!˝

In the story, she did reach down and find that inner strength to go on. She became even more dynamic and powerful; the tree was saved.

I thought of my students who, like Julia Butterfly, wanted to develop skills. If they simply ask to be fluent in English, they won’t magically begin communicating. I suspect what actually happens is that when the petition is heard, we are given the tools to achieve what we want. In this example, a teacher enters the student’s life and begins pushing and prodding against complaints and laziness until the students find that inner confidence and discipline to master English or Spanish!

With the realisation of how asking and getting works, we all stopped with all the petitions and simply enjoy the sunset

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