Shifting Sand

Do you remember the last time you strolled along a beach?
Think about it. Was it recently or a while ago? Was the sand white and the water clear? Were there seashells along the beach? Did you stand and listen to the waves crashing against the shore? Did you see the footprints of those who had walked there before you, or had the waves washed them all away and you could imagine you were the first to walk that way? Did you walk alone or with someone special to you?
It’s hard for me to imagine these days that there might be someone who has not seen the ocean. Someone who has not stood barefooted with the wind on their face, and gazed at the open expanse filled with waves of water and creatures from the depths.
It’s been less than a year ago that my friend, Vickey, held her mother’s hand in the ICU as she breathed her last. A couple of years before that, she took her mother to the Carolina coast see the ocean for the first time. Vickey’s mom was well on in years and had never experienced that before. Vickey will always have the memory of doing that for and with her mom. It was a hard trip. Her mother was frail, but she would not trade those memories for any price.
There’s a feeling you get when you stand on the beach and look out to the ocean.
I’m right, aren’t I? It’s the feeling that there is something greater than you. Something more powerful. Suddenly, you can feel very small, insignificant even, as you stand there with the water washing over your feet, the sand eroding from under them.
I think standing on the shore, looking out to the ocean, can certainly help to put many things in right perspective. I had those same feelings the first time I stepped onto a beach, and each time since.
The beach changes just a little each time a wave rolls in. It’s never the same beach twice. Each wave reshapes the terrain just a bit, bringing with it small tokens from the deep.
I recently walked along a beautiful beach in Cancun, Mexico with my husband of twenty years. I had walked that stretch of beach with him eight years before. Since that time Mexico had suffered through a major hurricane that heavily affected the beaches. Tons upon tons of beautiful white sand had been washed away leaving the rocks beneath exposed.
It was an odd landscape, and as we kind of mourned the loss of what had been before, we began to appreciate what had been left behind.
We noticed that with each wave little waterfalls and gullies in and around the rocks would fill with water, and we enjoyed watching the paths the water took through them as it was pulled back out to sea. Over time, moss had grown on top of the rocks, and after I got over my initial grossed out feelings, I walked on it and was amazed at how wonderful the moss felt underfoot. It felt softer than any carpet I had ever walked on.
As we worked our way up the beach a bit, my husband noticed that shallow pools had been formed around the rocks and on closer inspection he saw that the pools had small fish living in them. They were beautiful tiny black and yellow striped fish. Forever separated from the open ocean, they depended on each wave to bring them both fresh water and nutrients from the sea. He spent a few moments trying to catch one, but they were quick!
One thing we can always count on, is that nothing stays the same.
Just like the beach, life is in a constant state of flux. That’s a hard thing for many of us. It’s hard for us to embrace change. I could plainly see from my balcony view that the beach was no longer “perfect” as it had been years before. Because of that, I chose not to venture down there until the end of our stay. I thought, because it was different, it couldn’t have been as good as before.
It was different. But it was better. I regret not embracing that change earlier in the week. As sure as the surf continues to roll into the shore, change will come to our lives. The challenge for us is to embrace those changes and discover what new and different, even unexpected, blessings will come crashing into our lives because of them. While the sands shift under our feet and we feel the instability of our lives, it’s then that we must remember, that it is grace on which we stand.

2 thoughts on “Shifting Sand

  1. Love that caedmon’s song…loved your post today!we are heading to the beach tomorrow for the day..I will make sure and ponder the shifting sand with new thoughts thanks to your insight and wisdom…keep ’em coming.

  2. You are right on—-beach is best—-wish I was there right now:)—-absolutely my favorite blog so far—–

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