I went to the beach last week! The beach is my “happy place”! Every morning when I woke up, the first thing that I would do was to walk out on our fourth floor deck and just listen ... and then look.
Some days the ocean was turbulent and angry with white caps and high, threatening waves.
Other days, the surface of the ocean looked like glass - glorious in its hues of emerald green and peacock blue.
I love the sounds at the beach. The never-ending call of the ocean surf reminds me that God never changes. He is always calling my name ... trying to capture my attention. God is relentless in his pursuit of me and the perpetual motion of the waves remind me of His eternal perspective on my life.
The weather was cold all week long so I wasn’t able to sit on the beach and soak up the sunshine but I took long, luxurious walks on the beach every day I was there. I walked for miles and miles listening ... watching ... and praying.
I rolled up my sweat pants, dug my hands deep into my sweatshirt pockets and walked along the shore line. My feet were always numb by the time I came back to the condo - but my heart was alive and warm! I was filled to overflowing with the grandeur of creation and with a God Who loved me enough to create a beach!
My husband, Craig, joined me for the last part of the days spent in Florida. He joined me on my daily walks where ocean meets land. I know that he did it as a gift to me because it really was cold ... and he likes the beach ... but he doesn’t LOVE the beach the way that I do. Some days we would talk as we walked ... other days we just walked.
One late afternoon, when Craig and I were out on our daily pilgrimage, we talked about 2 things that that I want to share with you ... so join us ... roll up your pant legs and get ready for the ocean surf to splash upon your soul.
“I have noticed that there are different types of homes on the beach,” I remarked to Craig. “On this end of the beach, there are homes worth millions of dollars, aren’t they?”
“At least a million,” said my dashing, no-nonsense husband.
“As you travel down further toward the west,” I continued, “the homes seem to be simpler and worth less, don’t you think?”
“That’s a nice way of putting it, Carol,” he responded. “I would call them run-down. Some of them are not much more than shacks.”
“But do you know what they have in common?” I persisted. “Do you know what is the same with both the multi-million dollar homes and the shacks?”
“Tell me,” Craig said with his ocean-blue eyes penetrating my soul.
“They all have the same view,” I imparted. “It doesn’t matter how much money the people spent to live here ... they all see the same ocean. The same sand. The same sunsets.”
My talkative husband was quiet and smiled as he thought about it. We didn’t need to talk anymore that day. We both knew what God was speaking to us.
Our view of life has been spectacular!
The next day we walked east along the shoreline so that as we turned toward our home for the week, we would be walking west and thus see the sunset.
Craig was kicking the sand like a little boy and I was just enjoying the moment. The sun ... the white sand ... the depth of the ocean’s colors ... the roar of the waves.
I smiled at the heavens and said to Craig, “Did you know that this is one of my very favorite things to do in all of life? I love walking on the beach. I love everything about it. My heart is so happy. It’s right up there with Christmas music,” I said impishly.
My thoughtful husband replied, “What are your favorite things to do in the whole world?”
I didn’t need to think long about that ... this is what I said ...
- Reading my Bible ...
- Teaching the Word of God ...
- Worshipping the Lord passionately and with reckless abandon
- Being with my children and grandchildren ...
- Preparing for Christmas ...
- Talking to my mom ...
- Reading a great book ...
- Writing a great book ...
- Listening to timeless music ...
- great hymns of the faith and contemporary songs of praise
- the masterpieces of classic composers
- scores from musicals and Broadway show tunes
- Filling my soul with the glory of creation ...
- walking on the beach ...
Then ... I looked at my husband with a twinkle in my eye and remarked to this great theologian of a man, “You know, I am a lot like Jesus ... because He loved the beach, too!”
We both laughed and kept walking toward the sunset. The imprints of our feet were erased in the evening tide and our laughter was swallowed in the roar of the waves.
But our lives and our faith were both renewed in the joy
- of the day. In the glory of the moment. In the security of love. In the Reason we live.