Robyn wished on a dandelion for one trip a week to the beach, ALL SUMMER LONG.
“That I can do,” said I. And we did.
We share a long history, Lake Michigan and I. On balmy summer nights with an east wind, I’d fall asleep to the lullaby of the foghorn back when I was a little girl. And at fifty, the waves still mezmorize me.
By generational influence, my girls are hypnotized too.
So we pack up our paraphanalia and head out the door.
An hour later, our beach chairs are parked in the sand.
We all have our unique beach rhythms.
One girl reads and naps on a Mexican blanket.
Another skirts the buoys out near the deep water.
The littlest builds castles and moats. She designs waterways. When a wave crashes onto the shore, washing over them, she starts over—again and again.
I watch her musing about all of the idyllic castles I’ve constructed out of hopes and dreams instead of sand. And Lord knows, I’ve built many a moat of self protection. Then God sends His mysterious wave of sovereignty and flattens my fortresses in one fell blow reminding me that “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21)
Lounging on a orange inflatable, that’s where you’ll find me. I walk out into the water as far as my courage allows, jump into my seat and ride the waves back toward shore.
Over and over again.
The Lake has it’s own unique persona.
On green flag days, the waves rock gently, methodically, like a mama with her baby. They sing softly a song of comfort and assurance.
When the yellow flag flies, the water dances a syncopated rhythm, unresolved like jazz.
I watch red flag days from the shore because a healthy relationship with this Lake requires both love and respect. God’s playing rough on His playground, a reminder that He’s not safe but He’s good.
As I scan the beach, it’s adorned in color, from rainbow umbrellas to nuanced tones of melanin. People of every shape and size, all by God’s artistic design.
Teen girls insecure about what’s inside flaunting what’s only skin deep.
And young mamas calling their kiddos closer to shore over the drum of the waves.
Daddies building castles with their littles.
Adventure seeking youth dune jumping.
Dogs chasing Frisbees and swimming out to fetch sticks.
Empty nesters reading novels on lounge chairs.
A saggy grandma and wrinkly grandpa holding hands in their floaties. I hope that will be us someday….
And there’s a lady, maybe my age, bald, wearing a bandana. She’s assessing the horizon peering across the lake toward the other shore.
I wonder about her story…. All of their stories….
And God not only knows each story, He’s writing them all.
Mine feels so important to me.
Theirs feels so important to them.
Everybody’s is important to God.
And here we all are in this sacred place living today’s stories under the brilliantly colorful umbrella of God’s faithfulness, the fresh new mercies of sand and water, sunshine and friendship, family and play.
And it’s not just us. It’s all the souls on all the beaches from the Great Lakes to the East coast, to Hawaii and Australia and Vanuatu.
They’re all living their stories too.
According to my friend, Pinterest has a name for this kind of reflection.
It’s defined as “the realization that each passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as yours, populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherent craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you.”
The water’s sparkling like diamonds refocusing my attention. Nature’s sundial tells me it’s time to go. I give the five minute call and start packing up. We brush the sand off our feet in the parking lot and then drive home to the house with the Michigan address in the van with the Michigan license plate on it.
The beach days are almost gone for this year. Those seagulls, they’ll migrate south pretty soon.
We’ve lived them to the full with no regrets.
And here on the mitten shaped penninsula, summer will change clothes to reds, oranges and bright golden yellows before it gets cold and dark and gray for winters chill.
So we learn to live dressed in hope.
And we anticipate next year because the beach isn’t going anywhere.
And neither is his mercy.
In every season, fresh new reminders of His goodness and love.