Oh, I would be the one to answer, “yes!” to any adventurous endeavor that would be bestowed upon us. You would be the one to sit back and let the decision settle, before committing to anything.
Each boat in this marina is accompanied with an anchor and sails. A strong hard-headed anchor at that. And a free-spirited sail that is every bit of hard-headed as the anchor, if not more if she were completely honest.
As we make our way down the sun-beaten path to our powerful floating vessel, I cant help but think how much we are like the anchor and sail that inhabit our boat. The sails would let the wind direct them in any which way, but the anchor, the stubborn hard-headed anchor, gives the sails a chance to sit back and enjoy the ride instead of flying through the journey. Sometimes, just sometimes the sails can drag the anchor little, by little, in excitement of a new adventure.
Although, we always agree on where the boat should end up, we usually don’t agree on how it should get there. But I guess that is all apart of the trip. To see who can instill the stubbornness in the other.
As we travel and sail, different opinions are discussed on the salty water. There may be a flutter in the sail and my heart and there maybe some apprehension in the anchor and your plan, but there is always a balance. A different, opinionated balance I wouldn’t trade for all the oceans.
Growing up I could look out of every window in my tiny home and see corn, hay, and soybeans growing. Cow pastures would pop up in between the mix and the only bodies of water were the local lakes and creeks. I was, and still am, proud of where I came from. It was a working man’s country, small, but big in pride. And I shared that pride with my entire community. I was happy to be apart of old Small Town, U.S.A.
Now, as an adult, I look back on those memories fondly, still inhabiting the same proud smile on my face. At this point in my life, I can now look out of every window in my home and see the ocean. My grass has now become sand and my local lakes and creeks have turned into sea, sound, and estuaries.
Every morning, as I stroll the water’s edge, I am rewarded with simple treasures of seashells and sea glass. Such little gestures that fill almost every empty bottle and mason jar in my home. With each step I keep my gaze on the horizon, anticipating the arrival of the sun. The dark colors of night have faded as the morning colors have began to swirl, creating God’s masterpiece. Just as the hues begin to brighten and deepen, the sun makes it’s way gradually over the seal the sky and ocean have created.
All in one breathtaking moment, the sun has made an entrance, cascading light across the white sand. I’m drawn to the sight before me and although, I would love to stay where the water meets the shore, I am needed back at my home to prepare for work. I may not travel from my home for my career, but I do have to make it a point to stay out of my backyard until my work is finished.
After I think I can’t stand one more minute of my day, I am surprised with the fact that my day is actually over. My afternoon plays out similarly to my morning. I walk where the edge of land meets the edge of water. I collect glass and shells just as I did 8 hours ago. Even though my routine is the same day in and day out, I couldn’t ask for anything more. I wouldn’t trade my backyard for all the riches in the world.
We run to this place. Our mini-vans and suvs packed to the gills with every essential we could possibly fathom. We are tired, our kids are on our very last nerve, and we question if we even should have taken on this 12 hour drive or even the whole vacation in the first place. But then in one magical, second-wind moment, we get a wiff of the salt air through the vents. A rejuvenation encases the whole cab and peace descends, enveloping the madness and tossing it out the sun roof.
Finally, after what seemed like forever, our vehicles come to a stop and we are officially on vacation. After scrambling everything out of the car quick-fast-and-in-a-hurry, a beeline is made to the waves. A few stumbles up the dune and we can see the water. As the beach chairs unfold and the towels unravel, the koozies wrap the adult beverages and finally life is at peace.
So, now bring on vacation. Bring on the lazy days, the days with out bills, and the days without an alarm clock. One sip of the bottomless drink and a sigh of relief escapes into the tradewinds.
She’s finally over. The publicized hurricane-of-the-century, left as fast as she came in. There is damage. There is flooding. There is less beach than before. This isn’t new to any of us. We have gone through much worse and much less worse, but now is the time to go out and see the damage. She may have tried to knock our archipelago off the map, but here we all stand, together.
Making my way to the now even smaller strip of sand, the shells and numerous marine animals lied where they had been thrown from the ocean. I peak my head over the many sea creatures, hoping for a stir. If so, I work my quickest to get them back to their salty home. As I swiftly move and gently replace the marine life, other native beach-goers are also participating in the valiant effort to return them home.
A sense of relief overcomes us all as we know they are all back where they belong. I look out towards the next island in our clan. I can see the storm has sunk in her claws. I raise my hand to my brothers across water, sending my prayers their way. Although, we have a lot of work ahead of us, we are ready. And just before we turn are backs to head home, God lays out a beautiful rainbow, with vibrant hues, sending his promise to every islander.
With each shade in God’s sky, a new day arises. Every morning I walk the water’s edge anticipating what He has planned out for my day. Over the years, I have learned to start my morning this way; praying as the sand pushes from my feet and the ocean water cascades over the footsteps I have left behind. I always try to gaze at the horizon, trying to capture every moment of the show God has portrayed. With each passing minute the clouds move and the colors change and swirl. I have to be careful not to miss one second.
Although, I could stay on this sand forever, my career calls my name and pulls me from the beach. Throughout the eight hour grind, I reminisce on the sunrise that started my day. After the rat-race of a day I come back to my place. I come back to where I need to be.
This is a place where I feel at peace, a place closest to God. He gave me this place, He gave me this constant, to give me peace and keep my faith.
They quietly tiptoed past the sleeping homes along the street. With each step they were closer to the beach and further from the shared vacation home. Both giggled as they made their way over the tall dune, anticipating the sand and waves. Nostalgia swept over, reminding them of their high school-sweetheart past and how they would sneak out late at night and not come back until well after morning.
Nighttime still swept over the beach, but the roar of the ocean was just as prominent in the dark as it was in daylight. A makeshift bed, composed of an old blanket and extra flannel shirts for pillows, gave them the perfect spot to enjoy the stars. On their backs they pointed out the constellations they could remember and giggled at the ones they would make up. With each passing minute they re-fell in love with one another as if it were their first date all over again. Here they were almost twenty years later and still they made it a point to act like kids, just to keep the fire going.
While the stars burned and the crabs scurried through the sand, they lay there enjoying one another’s embrace, hoping this moment wouldn’t end. They talked and laughed well into the morning, until they knew they should go back before everyone wondered where they were, or had been. The sun began to take over his shift, shooing the moon and stars, and reminding them of the time they planned on going back. Instead, they stayed where they were watching the sun bust through the horizon, causing a cascade of colors to sweep across the sky. How could they leave when everything was so perfect?
Desire to beat the odds coursed through her veins. She wanted to defeat the naysayers and all the garbage they threw from their mouths. She is strong, independent, someone everyone should aspire to be like. Push the odds, embrace the fall, and rise with a keen edge, was her game plan.
She came to this place because it fueled her, gave her strength. She wanted to mimic the sea. A natural beauty that was intriguing and dangerous all at once. She wanted to be a sanctuary for people, but stand entirely on her own, just as this salty body of water. She wanted everyone to witness all of her power in an awe-inspiring way. She knew she was destined for great things. And although the battle may be hard, she would fight back harder. Like the sea, she consumed the negativity and relinquished it when she felt to do so.
The God-given strength the ocean possesses seems to rub off onto her as she struts the shore’s edge. As she gazes out onto the horizon, she knows in that moment no one can define her but God, herself, and the sea.
The waves rolled and crashed along the shore. The sun peeked up from the horizon, causing the island to stir. The sunlight slowly cascaded and stretched across the white sand, giving an iridescent appeal. Shells scattered along the sand became visible, while small crabs started back for home, not wanting to be seen. The first sunrise while on vacation at the coast, was something that could only be cherished. In this exact moment, this place and point in time, was where all of life’s troubles were thrown to the tradewinds; Content washes over and bliss settles its way in. God himself painted this masterpiece bringing contentment and satisfaction to those who were lost in the rat-race. God’s simple act of nature moves so many with a strong, yet subtle impact.
Let the salt take you adrift. Succumb to the the tradewinds’ music and dance to the sway of the palms. Give your cares to the sun and allow it to mix colors with the sky, as it sinks slowly into the waves.
We sit here together, He and I. We bask in the sun and soak up as many rays as we can, before He is called to His heavenly duties. He brought me to this place a long time ago.
I came here a tourist, but left as a local. He opened my eyes to the beach’s prominent beauty, I had never seen before. He opened my ears to His Word. He opened my soul to Him, with just a single crashing wave.
I speak with God on a regular back home, but this place is where I hear Him. Where I see Him. Where I know He walks with me hand in hand. Where I know I am one with Him. He gave me this beach, this island, to catch my full attention and mute the daily struggles of life back home.
So, now we sit with one another in the sand in glorified peace;Simply breathing the tradewinds in and out as the breeze sweeps over the beach. The waves crash as I listen to Him. He hangs the sun high as I speak with Him. Not one moment passes where I can’t feel His Holy presence.
As He lets the sun slowly fall into the salty waters, He paints for me the most beautiful sky, with just a flick of his finger. The reds, oranges, and pinks swirl with the blues and purples, causing the most iridescent waves to crash. He portrays just a little of what I will see when it is my turn to join His kingdom.
I know each day here with Him is a foreshadow to my heavenly days to come. I can only smile and ask rhetorically how blessed can I be?