This time of year is always bittersweet for me. Trying to hang on tight with one hand as I watch summer slipping away and reaching hard with the other hand for the days of fall.
I love summer. As a cold natured girl, I like the warmer season, even as hot as this one has got. It means seeing my grands more. Porch sitting by the pool. Family around more often. Some people love going to the beach for vacation.
The waves, the sun, the sand, it can all be the backdrop of family or friends hanging out and enjoying a slower pace together.
For me, it’s so much more. When my heart has this undeniable yearning to be still……that is when I need the ocean the most.
It is not easy to explain to someone who merely tolerates the beach or goes to party with their friends. It’s not just a vacation destination. It is a yearning that can fill a deep void.
Sitting by the ocean or walking in the wee hours of the morning beside those moving waters is like salve being applied to a wound that is for the most part ignored.
It fills the loneliest parts of my soul. My spouse is not as crazy about the beach, so I was surprised when he rearranged his calendar and planned for a spontaneous howbeit short trip with some of our best friends.
As soon as I walked onto that blazing hot sand and put my feet in that water, I felt a void filling quickly. I sensed a peace settling over me and felt a spiritual hug embrace me. As a contented sigh escaped my lips, I quietly uttered, “I really needed this,” and he said, “I know.”
Life changes, even when they are for the better, can be confusing and difficult to get use to. Thoughts and memories replay in our minds like an old movie reel as we try to rewind and edit past events or rewrite upcoming events that we foresee happening regardless of our inability to control.
The fact is, we can’t always be the screenwriter of our lives. Oh, we can take active part, but our family and friends make their own choices and sometimes that includes cutting our parts in their daily lives to a supporting role.
I do a lot of pondering and painting in my Art Barn at the farm, but I do a lot of talking to God at the beach as well. I seek him out early as I rush to watch the sunrise over the ocean, and I stay all day hearing him in the waves.
I walk the beach picking up shells that most people leave behind. I looked at my pile of beautiful broken shells and wondered why others didn’t see their beauty and left them behind. Did the imperfections cause the viewer to only see a broken mess, blinded to their beauty?
I scooped them up for art pieces and continued looking, as many do, for that perfect shell. The few times that I have found that perfectly formed shell, it is usually when I dig through the sand and debris. Sometimes the perfectly intact shell is hiding amongst the broken ones around it, other times the sand has washed over it, hiding it from view until time is spent to find and uncover its beauty.
I always come back with treasures, both physical and spiritual.
I questioned God as to why I couldn’t always feel his presence like I do in the sunrise, why people didn’t want the broken shells, why aren’t there more perfectly formed shells…. you know inquiring minds want to know.
Why do relationships change in spite our best intentions?
Why do we let others draw us further away from God and forget the promises we’ve made to him?
Can he take our broken mess and make it a masterpiece?
He is the creator; masterpieces are his specialty.
Maybe we don’t feel his presence because we get distracted and don’t spend the time we need to in his word, with his people in worship. After all, God isn’t the one who moved, we are.
Maybe we get distracted, and our vision gets drawn away from seeing the sunrise by less important things in this world.
Maybe we don’t always find that perfect shell because we give up too soon.
Just like maybe we don’t have what we want, or the relationships we want, because we give up too soon.
Maybe we are seeking the wrong things. Maybe we are trying to please people more than God. While we may look like a broken mess to others, he has made us beautiful. Perfectly imperfect. I don’t have all the answers, but I know the one who does. Choose what is better and don’t get distracted.
“Look to the Lord and his strength, seek his face always” (Psalm 105:4).
By: Donna Worsham