Monday, July 25, 2011

sitting on beaches

Old people sit quietly on beaches, and children play. Children have fun, while adults sit and watch and wish they were children again.  So I imagined, at least.

For many years, I have judged the “age” of a person, rather, their capacity for childish merriment, by the level of activity and excitement around water. 

When my husband and I were dating, we happened to be near the ocean during a rainstorm.  I was energized, delighted; I forced him to swim with me in the rain in the ocean.  It was a test of sorts. He passed.  (He later failed the dancing test, but I was so hooked at that point I did not care.)

The hours spent playing in the cool waves of Lake Michigan are some of my favorite experiences.   Years later, I returned with my children to that place, and played with them as they experienced this delight for the first time.  Oh the squealing, giggling!  The cool clear water over heads, in ears, in noses!  Sand in all parts!  Children clinging in fear and splashing in delight!  Adrenaline and roar of waves crashing!

 I jumped, dove, frolicked with them, new memories mixing with the old, sparkling and engulfing me.

I played hard, but then I had to sit down.  Rather, I wanted to sit down.  I wanted to still my body so I could better watch their happy little bodies. 

Gifts received by my own children are in a way more wonderful than any gift given directly to me.  I sat in the sun, let sand run through my fingers, and watched the gifts of God being given to my babies.   WOW, He actually did it AGAIN!  And He blessed THEM, my own sweet babies!

I sat, and I saw grace in the water, sun, air, waves.  Soft sand on my feet, squeals in my ears, joy overpowering, radiant grace pouring into all senses and all corners of my heart; Oh God, you are good to your children!

Children experience with their hands, their bodies, right in the midst of it.  Adults observe, we remember our times of bodily experience, and see it all over again, and more clearly, as it is poured on others.  This God who loves us, He knows how to give good gifts.

And then, grace upon grace, HIM, my dear husband right there in the water with our babies.  The one God brought back from Iraq, here with our children, experiencing and delighting.  He caught my eye, wondering with a smile, did I see that epic battle of boy vs. wave?  Did I see our superhero eating sand and laughing?  He smiled the smile he used in college to win my heart, and that smile is full of more memories and more love now.

Overpowering joy, grace received by all the senses, flooding heart and mind, making me stagger… making me need to sit down for a minute.

I do not sit because I am old and weary, not today.
Today, I am forced to sit because the crashing rush of grace has engulfed my being and knocked me over.

I need a second to catch my breath.


  1. I was dreaming about the beach all morning as I sat watching my kids play in our backyard and staring out at the sea of grass instead of water. I grew up min from the beach and it's near torture not getting to share the beach with my kids. Soak it up for me :)

  2. oh Melrose... maybe a vacation will make that happen for you. It is an annual thing for us. There is a special blessing in water and sand I think. But grass is good too. :)

  3. BEAUTIFUL post, Emily!! Loved, loved, loved it!!!

    1. It was one of my favorite moments. It makes me so excited for summer... and oh, how I CRAVE Lake Michigan!!!

  4. I live in Chicago and love that lake as well. (He later failed the dancing test, but I was so hooked at that point I did not care.) made me laugh but I love your memory of his college smile that hooked you. aND there is nothing more amazing than watching your babies frolic. Lucky you!


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