The reason I hate the beach is mainly because I loathe both sand and salt water. Take out those two things, and sure, I can dig it. But really, just give me the mountains. Other than being terrible, the beach is, really, an incredibly interesting phenomenon as it sits. Twice a day, the shore is defeated by the ocean, and twice each day, the ocean retreats from the sands. What an exhausting dance and battle.
Dictated by an innocuous lunar orb sitting high above both sand and sea with seemingly little relation to either, the swelling and ebbing of water is orchestrated carefully and continuously. Every day, beach visitors are forced to constantly relocate their camps depending on the position of the tide. High tides destroy painstakingly designed sand castles, and low tides provide safe, shallow pools for splashing and exploring and blank canvases for building and digging. Maybe the beauty of the beach is that it is ever changing. There must be beauty in the mystery of no boundaries separating earth from water.
Beaches have somehow found harmony in revolving and regular hand offs of victory and defeat. Maybe the sand doesn’t feel like the rising tide erodes the progress that it’s made throughout the day. Maybe it doesn’t feel defeat as the waves edge closer and closer to consume it. Maybe instead, it celebrates the approaching baptism that promises to refine it… removing the loose grains that sift and clutter. Maybe it feels refreshed that after a high tide, its shores are packed and firm and offer cooling pools it wouldn’t otherwise possess alone. And maybe the ocean doesn’t feel trapped at low tide, unable to break free of the bonds of tiny, lapping swells, because it knows that the moon will appoint its time to break free, show off its power and rise unhindered, then be gifted reprieve to rest and wait for the next appointed time to show out in glory.
You know, despite my yearning to protest it, our lives are like those tidal flows… delicately but assuredly forcing us to be both the waves and sandy bits of coastline. More times than I prefer, I feel like my spirit is a tiny pellet of sand, being swept up and drowned in rushing waves of change… being dominated by gushing tides that I’m too small to control. Other days, I’m the waters at low tide, itching for the chance to break loose and flood the land before me, but frustrated by the timing and bondage holding me back.
But above my elusive tides sits a sure and supernatural being, predicting, ordering and setting in motion the perfect rhythm to showcase both my weaknesses and my strengths, and setting a course that is not only complementary to my heart, but vital to my very existence. He refines me with mighty waves, lifting off the debris that skims my surface like a fine powder, leaving my heart and spirit a little more firmly packed, a more solid foundation. He leaves behind beautiful shells, to surprise and delight me with His masterful creation. He promises tidal pools of His goodness and grace, urging me to come and sit and bathe in His merciful glory. And at the same time, He offers me that same power and provides me the opportunity to flex my muscles and burst forth in triumph, marching swiftly toward my next course. And when I lose control (as I always do), He beckons me back toward Him and the safety of the shoreline, saving me from a headlong collision with disaster.
I hate the beach. I am the beach. I hate the waves. I am the waves. I hate the sand. I am the sand. And my maker knows me. Knows the topography of my shoreline. Knows every fleck of my sand. Knows every swell in the ocean of my heart. And He loves me and crafts me.