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Posts Tagged ‘the beach’

I hear my alarm on the nightstand beside me and quickly push snooze. I groggily check to see what time it is. Five a.m. And still dark outside. I lie in bed and debate. I could snuggle into the soft sheets and warm blankets of this bed, cuddled up to my sleeping husband for the next two and a half hours, and start the long day ahead of me with a solid five hours of sleep…

Or I could drag my tired body out of bed and spend my last morning on the island watching the sunrise.

My exhaustion tells me to stay.

But my hunger for the experience that awaits me, for the memories I will take home with me, speaks louder.

I roll out of bed.

I slip on my black stretch pants, pull a blue shirt over my head and slide my feet into a pair of  flip-flops. I grab my phone and car keys off the nightstand and tip-toe out the bedroom door.

The house contains an unfamiliar quiet.

I make my way down the tiled staircase, careful to keep my flip-flops from flip-flopping too loudly, unlock the side door and step out onto a wooden landing. I take my first breath of the cool, salty air and descend a second set of stairs. I glance at my surroundings. Every color is muted, a landscape made up of varying shades of gray. Houses that have been painted every color of the rainbow, bushes and palm trees usually a deep shade of green, flowers in their array of pinks and reds and purples: all muted. All gray.

I hop into my hubby’s xterra.

I drive three miles, passing a cluster of massive hotels, dozens of houses on stilts, one convenience store and acres and acres of sand, sidewalk and palm trees. I reach a giant sign. This sign marks the end of the developed stretch of the island and the beginning of paradise: the seven miles of uninterrupted sand and ocean that I found on my long run five days before.

One point four miles later I pull into a small parking lot, park the xterra facing east, and turn off the engine.

I roll down the windows. Immediately, my ears are filled with the sound of the ocean, the endless, soothing rhythm of the waves as they crash onto the sand. I inhale deeply. Close my eyes. Inhale again. Open my eyes and drink in my surroundings. Could there be a more magical place on earth? There is fifty feet of sand beside me, then ocean for as far as the eye can see. The gray water follows itself all the way to the horizon. For a while I get lost in its infiniteness. The rolling water is hypnotic and I find myself relaxing into this experience.

Eventually I turn my attention back to the scene that is unfolding in front of me. I sit facing east and watch as slowly, steadily, the coming light begins to touch the sky. The low-lying clouds hide the sun as it peeks out of the horizon.  I watch them evolve from their muted gray to a light pink, then to a deeper, reddish pink. The sky around them turns almost blue.

The landscape in my rearview mirror is still gray. The light has not yet reached the west.

The constantly changing colors filling the eastern sky keep me fascinated. Everything about this place, this moment, feels right. Contentedness runs through my veins.

An hour passes quickly.

Around six-thirty the sun’s rays burst through the low-lying cloud cover. The sight is glorious. They light up the entire sky, turn the water into a sea of blue diamonds, turn the sand into a radiant white. They color the eastern sky a deep gold, the western sky a deep blue.

And they leave me with three thoughts that I have taken home with me, that I am still thinking of today.

1) I serve a magnificent God. Who chose a grand creation. And when I take the time to stop and notice, His brilliant design always leaves me breathless.

2) It has never been more clear to me as it was that morning, as I witnessed the power of the sun’s light, how appropriate it is that we call our God and His Son, the Light. The earth was transformed that morning. Everything the light touched was changed. From a dark and colorless mass emerged a distinct landscape bursting with brilliance and color. What a beautiful metaphor for the shape our hearts and our lives can take when they are touched by the Light.

3) I need to experience a purer form of His creation more often. I want this. My spirit craves this. More often than every once in awhile, I must leave this busy city and get lost in His creation.

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Every once in a while I experience this overwhelming desire to move to a deserted island. This island would have a pile of books, a stack of paper and pens, a lot of sun, a lot of sand and the cleanest, most gorgeous blue ocean a person could ever hope for or imagine.  This island would be mine and mine alone. No people. No tvs. No appointments or commitments. No dirty dishes. No laundry. No fussing or whining or complaining. No tears. No sickness. No expectations, no competitions. No arguing or bickering. No impatience or bitterness or pettiness. My island would be an oasis of peace and tranquility. It would be simple and beautiful and effortless.

I am sitting in the blue armchair in our den dreaming about my island. I am overwhelmed with emotion and irritation about a lot of little things, none of them worth being this overwhelmed about. I am thinking about these little things and feeling wound so tight I could break. I am wishing for a punching bag to work out all of these frustrations. I am longing for my island.

But this feeling is uncomfortable. And I do not want it anymore.

So I make a choice. I choose to breathe deeply. I choose to focus my thoughts on things that I am thankful for. At first this feels impossible. My mind resists. My heart resists. But I know it is best and this knowledge overrides my resistence.

I am thankful for my children. They are healthy, they are intelligent, they are precious. I am thankful for my husband. He is devoted, he is stable, he is forgiving. I am thankful for my friends and family. Their desire is to do good. I am thankful for my health, my home, my faith, my country.

My emotions and my irritation urge me to focus on the ugly that is in my life. And there definitely is some ugly. But I cannot. I will not. Even when I am overwhelmed with emotion there is always some part of me that knows: I am blessed. And though I sometimes lose my way and my awareness of this is lost, that reality is always there, waiting for my return.

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