I have been overcome by the beauty and richness of our life together, those early mornings setting out, those evenings gleaming with rivers and lakes below us, still holding the last light.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea
— o0o —
I am always amazed at how quickly a week at the beach can disappear. We settle into a rhythm of getting up late, enjoying a leisurely breakfast, and sitting with our coffee or a glass of iced tea on the porch, just drinking in the peace. We make as few trips into town and civilization as possible. We read, talk, laugh, and unwind.
Some people use the beach as a time to get a golden tan. We’re more in the fry-and-burn category. Others use vacation to get out and do as much as possible, cramming in theme parks, shopping and “must-see” sites. We work hard at — doing nothing.
We take our beach walk after the heat of the day, strolling to the point where the sea meets the end of the sandbar, around past the dunes with the plover nests, and back home again. The birds, the air, the sound of the waves… it is healing and comforting to stand and experience them without the raucous sound of traffic, music and people.
We tend to go to the beach at the end of the summer. Seasonal jobs are finished, and the back-to-school rush is just around the corner. More than anything, it has become a time to reclaim a piece or two of our souls, ones that got worn down or perhaps forgotten in our crazy work week.
Part of me wants to cling to this week, to make it last for 10 days or two weeks. But even when we can do that, it still ends too quickly. The peace and soul-quieting moments stick with me, in part because I seek to experience them fully, without trying to accomplish much of anything, without wishes or regrets.
Just to be.
I try to keep these days as precious. As a chaplain, I know that life comes with twists and turns and changes. A hurricane bulls-eye could wipe out this sanctuary. Another year we might not all make the time to travel together. Or it could be that in future summers, we will have “+1’s” increase our family circle. And that will be wonderful, too.
So instead of regrets, I allow the memories to swell, ebb and flow, and to store them up for colder nights and darker mornings. I’m grateful down to my toes for God’s goodness. I’m overcome by grace.
Thanks be to God.