Tuesday, June 05, 2012

God at the beach

My family just returned home from a week long vacation at the beach.  It was long, wonderful, memorable, and more.  My in-laws came along, so there was no shortage of kid entertainment and arms to hold my little toddler- thankfully.  Even with a power outage on our first night at the beach house (no phone chargers, no sound machines, no fans, no AC); a loud thunderstorm halfway through the week that stirred up the waves and water for the rest of the week; and a baby consistently waking up way too early on vacation; we enjoyed a week of less responsibility and more unstructured playtime.

As always, the bigness of the ocean draws me to its shore.  The never-ending roar of the waves smashing into land make it impossible to think about normal everyday worries.  Even my oldest son, on his first sight of the clear blue water from the car, blurted out in wonder, "I could just die to be here!  I am going to be so sad when we have to go home!"  Each morning, sleepy-eyed with a wide-awake baby on my hip, I opened the back door first thing to catch a glimpse of the empty beach.  I strained to see a dolphin or two in the morning quietness.  Nothing.  But beautiful still.

Do you ever wonder if God hears you? Even though I feel like a speck of sand next to His enormous creation, I find myself feeling closer than ever to the One who made that immense ocean and all of the living treasures it owns.

Maybe it's because I'm out of my element, out of routines, and into God's side of life. I feel like a child. I hunt for the perfect seashell hiding underneath sea ripples. I sink my bare feet into the wet sand until they're trapped there. And I look for dolphins.

On the seventh day, early in the morning again, I stood on our balcony in expectation. Hoping I wouldn't mistake a wave for a shiny fin breaking the surface, I whispered a prayer. "God, will you please show me a dolphin? It's our last day," I half-asked, half-wished.

Like a parent who loves to see their children's faces light up with joy, my God answered my silly little question. Directly in front of me, a few yards from the shore, a single dark blue-gray dolphin road out of the water. Nobody was there to see it but me. I stood still and watched for a minute, stunned and afraid to ruin the magic. Quickly though, before it disappeared, I ran to tell my husband, since he knew I'd been looking for that precious animal every single day of our vacation. He joined me until the dolphin was too far away for our eyes to follow, and I felt supremely happy.

No cup of coffee could have waken me up more than that simplest moment of joy. An answered prayer made me feel completely heard, accepted, and loved, like one good, long, necessary hug from a dear friend.

With an irrepressible smile on my face, my husband turned my attention to the skies at our right. We both gasped, because what would have normally been a pleasant sight any day, seemed even more impressive in that moment. A rainbow. Not just a rainbow over the beach, where we just caught sight of the long awaited sea mammal. But a double rainbow.

A sweet, beautiful gift from our Creator.
Mark the moment.

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