Day at the Beach

The early morning sun offers the promise of warmth and expectation.

An indolent day at the beach is exactly what is needed!

Arms laden with a beach bag full of vittles, sunscreen and a towel; I discover the perfect spot to settle in for the day.

Cliffs behind me, ocean before me, sun above me, sand below.

Perfection. Shelter. Peace.

My little space is set up; all is in order and ready for me to be one with the breeze and old-Earth smell of brine and life and decay.

Shoes off, sunscreen on; now to the water.

Contradictions.

That is what I see in the ocean; yet also safety, born out of the ancient rhythms of the earth. Forever marching on, steady and unyielding.

The tide’s constancy is relentless, untamable, fierce; all without apology, the ocean does what it is meant to do.

The water laps and rushes and chases my feet; startling and elemental in it’s coldness. Invigorating and inspiring.

The birds, crabs and tiny sea creatures count on the unchanging ways of the ocean, because it is life to them. The ocean gives and these creatures take.

But I think the ocean is also a taker. It takes the worries, stress, fears and uncertainties in life; it takes words spoken and wept and screamed by those who walk the beach looking for answers, solace, peace. We push those things out of our hearts and the ocean pulls them into itself.

A lovely dance.

Perhaps this is what God does for us. He takes all of the fear, rage, worry and tears that we spew out, into Himself and pulls them away from us as we release it all to Him. He is fierce, constant, untamable, mysterious and present. He gives life, He is love; we rely on Him.

Back at my sanctuary, the sand under my legs and back is so warm, relaxing and inviting. It is solid and permanent; warmth leeches into my chilled bones; lulled to a drowsy peacefulness.

With closed eyes and warm sun baking down in pleasant coziness, I notice my other senses stirred; susurrating waves whisper and breathe, birds call overhead; somewhere a dog barks.

That scent of salt floats on the ever present breeze along with other notes of a BBQ and the cloying scent of flowers.

Drowsy and dreamy, my mind wanders in that half dreaming state of blissful rest.

The sun has shifted in the sky; there is a slight chill to the air. How long have I been lying here?

Hunger gnaws, so out come the snacks.

Seagulls make an appearance; they scold and demand that I share; watching closely every move I make. I share.

Before packing up to head back to reality, it’s time for a walk.

There are footprints going before me in the sea-soaked sand and I wonder whose they are and what secrets they’ve spoken to the sea today.

Interesting how before long, all traces of my footprints will be washed away; as if I had never walked here; as if the past is washed away and cleaned up and brand new sand is offered up for a new direction, new footprints, new promises.

Jesus cleans up our lives like this; the old washed away, the new offered up; clean, lovely and ready for a new journey.

Sun dipping down, air quite cool, water coming higher; my signal to call it a day.

Heading to the car I feel rested, new and cleansed; a little wild and wooly from the rawness of the ocean and its wild and chaotic, yet perfectly ordered dance.

 

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Come Away

I’m up early.

A restless, unsettled day, led to a similar night of sleep.

Rest is elusive, thoughts scattered.

Warm, earthy, steamy coffee warms my hands;  my eyes glaze over; mind swirling.

Through the open kitchen window, the morning air carries the faint scent of jasmine and cool earth.

The house is warm, but the fragrant air is inviting and full of promise; electric.

It beckons.

A friendly breeze, a puff of soft air, calls to me from the musical notes of the wind chimes,

“Come out.”

I go out.

My favorite bench is canopied by the looming butterfly bush; it’s purple, fragrant blooms toss and wave; encouraging me to come.

I do.

The cold marble of my bench, as I sit, is in stark contrast to the warmth of my hands around the child-painted coffee cup I carry with me. “I love Mommy” it proudly shouts, from its brightly painted surface. That brings a smile.

Also some tears.

I don’t feel so loveable of late.  Irritable. Tired. Frustrated, not loveable. Chaotic, possibly.

Looking at the flowers in the planter tubs next to my bench, I see chaos; at first.

Upon closer inspection, I notice that the random way in which I planted these lovelies, is actually quite beautiful.  Patterns emerge amidst the seemingly random design.

There is order here in the planter, despite the chaos and it is so lovely! Yes! Yes, it is.

Do goodness and beauty and happiness have to be meticulously ordered, spaced and arranged to be ok and acceptable?  Do I have to understand it?

This revelation makes me smile and breathe deeply. Inhale life.

The rising sun glitters its reflection at me on the feathery water of the stone bird bath. Winking and spunky, I want to laugh with it, at the possibilities of the new day.

I feel my back and shoulders relax; everything isn’t wiry and tense, ready for flight. Calm. Peace.  Is that joy?

Again the breeze; it caresses the back of my neck with cool, kind fingers; barely a whisper against my ear.

What was that?  I close my eyes, try to still my mind and just be.

I hear it now. You are speaking, but no words are spoken.

The peaceful scent of jasmine and butterfly bush blooms tell me all is well.

The stable, steady, ancient scent of dirt reminds me that new life is all around; rebirth is waiting daily for me to acknowledge it.

The breeze whispers that I’m never alone.  You will never leave me. I remember; I know.

I see in the riotous, chaotic colors and placement of the flowers, that You have patterned and woven my life together in a tapestry that may appear to be a random intersection of lines and curves; hills and dales; yet is actually something far more beautiful and ordered and perfected than I can imagine.

You see the entire picture of me and You call it lovely; You call me lovely. I am enough because of You.

You have dried my tears; they are captured in the bottle that holds all of them. In place of frustration, I notice acceptance has taken root. Not a resigned, sighing acceptance, but an acceptance of the unique journey I am on with all of the ups and downs that I know will come.

My place in Your arms as chosen, loved, accepted and redeemed is reconfirmed on my little marble bench. I am enough. I just needed to come away with You for a spell. You remind me I’m Yours and all will be well.