A little bit ago, the three of us were able to visit family and spend some time at the beach. I grew up camping in the mountains or traveling to tractor pulls, and with my fair skin the beach was never my first pick for a destination. I have learned to love the ocean, apply sunblock, and sit under an umbrella. However, Ben grew up going to the beach every summer so it has become the place where he relaxes and rejuvenates.
After our last year, with his difficult work schedule and our life… he needed it badly. We both did. Though, as luck would have it, a tropical storm stubbornly stayed a bit south of us, which made it overcast and chilly for most of the week. Not ideal beach weather, but we made the most of it (and my pale skin rejoiced!). We were able to steal away to the beach during E’s nap times (thanks Gma, Pop and Auntie!). Though we love having E with us, holding Ben’s hand without interruption are times that I cherish. We walked in the sand, while the waves crashed onto the shore.
While we walked, we watched wee sandpipers as they searched for food. They followed the waves in and out, searching for food in the sand as the waves came and went. They were perky, diligent and relentless. And stinking cute. I admired them.
As we continued along the coast we came across a horseshoe crab who had washed ashore. We originally thought he was dead, but a brave elderly woman grabbed his tail and lifted him up to reveal his slowly moving, scary bottom side. He was covered in barnacles, obviously old, moving slow and was tossed to and fro in the waves. I pitied him.
How often do I allow the waves of life to crash into me and toss me to and fro? The waves of grief from a diagnosis, or the waves of regression, or the waves of difficulties. I allow them to shove and slam into me, and I lose any footing I had briefly gained. I live in a state of anxiety, never knowing when the next wave will come or where it will take my unwilling self. I moan at my circumstances and allow barnacles of bitterness to grow. I cling to things that are made of sand, and despair when they slide from my grasp. I keep my head down and pray for it to be over soon so I can return to calm waters.
That is the the main difference between the two: one searches while the other slumbers. The sandpiper is energetic and determined to find treasures and nourishment in the wake of the waves, while the horseshoe crab lives in a constant state of vacillation.
What would it look like for me to seek treasures in the wakes of my waves?
Treasures like learning that I am strong and capable as E’s Mama and seeing what a perfect match my husband is for me. The nourishment of E’s smile or coffee with a friend. Treasures of new groups of people to know and love. Nourishing moments of peace and laughter during a drive-around nap time. The treasures of the adoration of E from anyone who knows her, and the nourishment their support gives my soul.
I would have never known the deep value of these things, nor would they have been so necessary if E weren’t our daughter. I would have never seen them or sought them out if our waves hadn’t left them behind. I can either see the waves as cumbersome and overbearing or I can see them as opportunities for growth.
Lord, make me a sandpiper. Help me to uncover the abundant riches that are left behind in the aftermath of a rolling tide. Give me eyes to see them, and give grace to your horseshoe crab of a daughter and help her out of the waves. Amen.
Oh, and here’s another reason to love Sandpipers! (via Disney UK ) The Sandpiper