One of the big attractions of our recent holiday destination was being near the sea. I love the sea. The massiveness of it, the perfectly straight horizon, the predictability of the tides, the colour, the wind, the smell. We’d been there for 24 hours and not yet reached the sea, I hadn’t got my toes wet. So we took a trip to the beach. But the expanse of sand was so huge we never made it to the sea. The same the next day, and the next. We were aiming for the sea but kept getting stuck on the beach
But these were not wasted trips. We had fun, ran races, chased balls, dug holes, sat and watched, dreamed.
We caught glimpses of the sea in the distance, watched as swimmers made the long walk back to the car, and played in the streams that steadily flowed the distance to the ocean.
It makes me wonder what happens in life when I’m aiming for the sea but get stuck on the beach. Do I strive for the ocean, for the final destination without enjoying the wonder of the sand dunes, of where I am now?
We’re big on aims, of setting out our goals with the 3 step plan of how we’ll get there. Most of the time I think this is a good thing. There’s the old school of thought that there’s no such thing as standing still; if you’re not moving forwards you’re in fact moving backwards.
But there are so many treasures to be found on the beach, we shouldn’t move so fast towards our goals that we miss them. And for those goals that are harder to reach, with so many variables out of your control. For the sake of your sanity and ability to actually enjoy life, you need to enjoy the journey not just the destination.
Some times you’ll be in the mood for getting stuck in to life – get your bucket and spade out and build something.
Some days you’ll just feel like you’re chasing the same balls over and over – if that’s good enough for my dog it’s good enough for me!
Some days it’ll be all you can do to sit with your arms wrapped around your knees staring out at where you want to go, watching others have all the fun. And that’s ok too – just be careful you don’t get stuck there for too long, nobody likes a numb bum!
I’m happy to say we did eventually make it to the sea on our last day, and how sweet it was to enjoy it with friends.
Some of life’s beaches are long and hard, some of them feel more like a desert. But like it says in Lamentations 3:21-28,
“…There’s one other thing I remember,
and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:
God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He’s all I’ve got left.
God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope,
quietly hope for help from God.
It’s a good thing to stick it out through the hard times.
When life is heavy and hard to take,
go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions:
Wait for hope to appear”
Some days God’s mercies and faithfulness look like that day when you achieve a goal, when a dream is realised. And some days it looks like an empty beach with a lifetime of possibilities to enjoy before you get there.