We went to the beach after lunch when the temperatures had warmed up. The sun was shining, the ocean was calm and smooth, the sky was blue and cloudless, and the air was so perfectly warm. It was no longer cold and windy, sand pelting your legs. It wasn’t the powerful heat of the summer, when you try to hide every part of your body under some shade. It was the sun at its mildest, kindest, the ideal temperature.
I wanted to sit on the great deserted beach, in front of the vast empty ocean, and write and read and journal and think and pray. But the warmth was seeping into my body. I had come to the beach under prepared for the cold temperatures and had been constantly shivery thus far. I listened to the waves, watched my three big girls playing with them, and felt the comforting drowsiness overtake me. I closed my eyes and surrendered to a nap. I even moved from the beach chair to the old quilt stretched out, and laid flat out, my cheek on the sand, my sweatshirt hood pulled up over my head. I fell asleep with the cozy sun beating down on me for a blanket. I slept there for probably thirty minutes and it was the sweetest, most refreshing nap I have experienced in a long time.
When I woke up, we walked along the shore awhile. I even took off my socks and shoes and dipped them into the icy water. It felt like a foot massage walking in that water, feeling it lap up across my toes and rush out underneath them.
We decided to walk back to the condo via the public beach access path, picking our way across beach debris, when I saw a small piece of driftwood. It caught my eye in the midst of the other rocks and shells. It was different than those and it stuck out. The sand nearer to the water was so very pristine and clear that there were few treasures like this to be found there. When I picked up the driftwood, I immediately knew that it was my special treasure from this weekend. It was my souvenir. And then I sensed God say one simple precious word to me.
The currents in the ocean affect where any person or vessel can go, the direction, the pull, the push, the underwater wind. The driftwood floats along and is CARRIED, where it is to go.
I am the person paddling hard in the water, fighting to stay afloat. Working to learn, to grow, to do, to serve, to swim the right way.
My lie sounds like: TRY HARD. WITH ALL OF YOUR HEART. WITH ALL OF YOUR STRENGTH.
God’s sweet voice said something quite the opposite, even startling. DRIFT. REST. I WILL CARRY YOU. I WILL CARRY YOU AND YOU WILL GO SO MUCH FARTHER AND COVER SO MANY MORE MILES THAN YOU CAN SWIM.
At sunset, we took pictures of beautiful growing girls. The horizon turned pink and purple above, the treasures of all shapes and sizes, nestled in sand were collected below. Gifts just left there for the taking. We don’t have to earn them, just enjoy. Just stare and marvel. Just stoop and pick. Rejoice.
We went back to the beach one more time after supper, during the black cover of night. The stars were brilliant and bright with so little light near the shore to diminish them. I thought of the nursery song, like a diamond in the sky. Diamonds for us. I thought about how I had been immersed in my senses this day. So much to see, to feel, to hear. Sensory overload. Instead of searching for pearls of wisdom in books, I had put the book down so I could feel, to experience, to touch the pearls. Loving God with my body instead of always just my mind and my soul.
I couldn’t see the waves anymore in that darkness, but I could hear them faithfully, rhythmically crashing, in and out, back and forth. Even as the sound of them faded, and I walked away, back to my room, lay my head on my pillow, closed my eyes to sleep, then woke up and drove home five hours inland. The waves are still pressing at the shore, enjoying their work, never tiring of it, ebbing to and fro, on and on and on.
Jaime Roop is a freshly turned 40-year-old navigating a mid-life journey towards coming out of her shell. She is a hearing 4’11’’ Highly Sensitive Person happily mismatched to her deaf 6’2” computer genius husband. They are raising three blonde blue eyed school age girls in small town Alabama. She earned her MA in counseling and still loves to delve into all matters of heart and heartache, however currently she loves doing her dream job as an American Sign Language interpreter.