I'm not who I was.
Although I’ve been to the beach many times before: as a child to the Cape to visit family, for a few hours in Florida while visiting my parents, as a teenager on youth trips, and even a random, spur-of-the-moment overnight drive with friends simply to watch the sun rise (this was obviously pre-children), I have never before done the legitimate, condo directly on the beach, all day, every day, come and go as it suits you thing. I must say, I like this version the best so far. It makes it more of a “resting” experience as opposed to a “doing” experience. Lord knows, I need less doing and more resting.
Wonderful things happen when you aren’t constantly rushing from one thing to the next. Quietly sitting, doing little else but listening to the waves crash and the wind blow… you can hear God’s whispers and see God’s wonders that you’re usually too busy to recognize.
On several days, it rained. It didn’t rain all day or ruin our fun, but we were left wondering what would become of our day on a few occasions. One day began rather drearily, but ended in delightfully cool beachy breezes. At around 2am one night, I felt as though my heart had jumped clear through the roof as lighting must have struck just outside. You could feel it in your bones. In the morning, the immediate storm had passed, and we ventured out into the unknown.
There was also the “pop-up” day: the day in which we began outside, it rained (and some just stayed out in the rain), and it cleared. It seemed like a bit of a nuisance, that is until I began digging.
Dig. Make cities. That’s all the littlest wanted to do. For hours on end he was content to sit there and dig in the sand. He liked tunnels and “train tracks” the best. And do you know the best material for sand-castle building? Sand that has been freshly poured upon. It’s wonderful. You don’t have to sit on the shore and wonder if the waves or the jellyfish will invade your space. You don’t have to haul buckets up to the powder in an attempt for just the right packing mixture. The packing mixture had been made perfect by the rain. Until the dampness dried, we had excellent packing sand for a good long time. Sand that was moldable. Sand that was useable. It was the storm that made the soil most useful for its purpose. Without it, it would have been nice to look at, but not nice to be involved in. It wouldn’t have been bad, just flat. We all would have missed out on something even more wonderful.
There’s another aspect to this weather thing. Suspicious clouds loomed everywhere. One day, they would blow one direction, one day another. We’d check our various weather apps, which of course conflicted each other, and we would try to draw our best guesses on our own understanding. (Which really still left us with no real answer). But the one source who was always right about the weather? The beach boy. The guy that comes and puts the cushions on your rented slatted chairs and opens and closes and moves the umbrella, providing shade or sun for your pleasure: he knew. There were clouds before us and clouds behind us, and clouds in almost every direction, but above us the sky was blue. “What is going to happen today?” We would ask. “You see, those clouds are going that way, and that tail is going to circle around us. We’re going to be just fine all day. If there’s something you need to be aware of, I’ll let you know. Don’t worry.” He knew because that’s what he did. Day in, day out. Watching and tracking and moving, and taking care of things. We trusted him, because his experience and knowledge was greater than ours. (Okay, well we didn’t TOTALLY trust him. We just mostly trusted him. We put more stock in his input, but we weren’t entirely willing to say, “As he says, so it is.” And he’s a human, so that’s okay.) But we have a God. A God who is omniscient and omnipotent and omnipresent and good. He is trustworthy. The Creator knows.
He knows where the winds will blow, where the storm will strike, and how to get you through it better than how you started.
So if the storms are pummeling and drenching and darkening your day, soak up the rain. It just may cause you to be shaped into something beautiful.
Darkness circles beyond the shore
Downpouring dismal threat
Uncertainty, the enemy
Besiege the mind to fret
Beholding skies of darkness
Watery curtains drawn
Crashing waves, unsettled seas
Boast plundering horizon’s sun
Gazing out to where I’m not
Vast is the unknown
Understanding’s lack, aware
Provoking grief is grown
Alas, the shadow’s undertow
Has mocked me to despair
For when I look at where I sit
No storm prevails there
Delight is here, it’s mine to have
Gladness begs awaken
Though shadows may be passing near
They have not overtaken