Tuesday, June 21, 2011

dreaming + doing.

 {St. George Island, Florida 2011}

It hit me as I made the 30-second trek from house to beach last week that not everybody gets to do this.

Not everybody travels 70 some-odd miles down the road and makes the trek across a bridge to a place where, thank goodness, time hasn’t touched too much.

Not everybody loads up in a tiny house with their family for a week and survives.

Not everybody spends their days reading good books and floating in the salty water and drying in the hot air.

But since I was a scrawny little eight-year-old kid, I’ve been doing these things.

And last summer, when we didn’t make our annual visit, I promise you, I could tell the difference.

This past week I confided to my mother that I think I am more myself at the beach. I am who I would be if I didn’t sit inside at a desk all day, if I didn’t have countless commitments and burdens and worries, if I stopped wearing makeup and reading blogs and spending time concerned with what others think about me.

I wish I could bottle that feeling up and take it everywhere I go.

The beach, for me (and for most of my family, I’d suspect) is about more than just sitting and taking in the breeze and the sand and the dolphins celebrating the sea.

It’s also a time of renewal.

A group of us were sitting under the shade of the family tent, situated just a few feet from the gulf waters, when a government employee came up, asking questions about the island we frequent: How often do we make the trip? Did last year’s oil spill affect our decision to come? Would we be back?

In the middle of it all, she asked: What do you do while you’re here visiting?

My dad paused and looked at her for a moment before answering.

“This,” he said, nodding around to the five or six of us gathered in chairs. “We don’t do anything but this.”

And it’s true.

We don’t go to the beach to shop. We don’t frequent the seafood restaurants or rent bikes or kayaks or canoes. We don’t ride jet skis or fish aboard rented boats. These days we don’t really build sandcastles or play too many games.

Mostly we just sit.

We read.

We talk.

We walk to the water, swim for a little while, then make our way back to shore, where we wait for the sun to dry us off before entering the water again.

We also resolute.

I was born into a family of dreamers and doers, and they do a lot of their dreaming at the beach.

Together we talk about ways we can be better. We share our thoughts on being Christ-followers, on what that looks like in our neighborhoods and at our church and in our homes.

We don’t really make lists or write out bulleted resolutions; instead we just share our ideas, and we encourage each other to not let those dreams die when we arrive back home where laundry and to-do lists and naysayers are waiting.

I think that’s what I was missing last summer.

June is summer’s January.

And last year, I didn’t get a chance to sit and be quiet, to reevaluate my life and my spirituality.

I know some people love the beach for its food, its recreation, it outlet shops.

But the beach we visit doesn’t offer all of those things, and I am glad.

I am grateful for a reprieve free of distractions.

I am grateful for just sitting and being and the peace that it brings.

I am grateful for the closeness of the Father and the bigness of Him by the sea.

I am grateful for a family of persistent dreamers and doers.

I am grateful for the opportunity to travel miles down the road to my own peaceful paradise, to a place where I can ditch the masks and the commitments and the burdens and for a while, just be me.

I am lucky, this I know.


Staley Mc said...

It sounds like you had a great beach trip. It sounds so nice to just be able to take time for yourself and spend time with the people you love.

Mom said...

You hit the nail on the head! It is such a time of renewal and I'm grateful we had the opportunity to be together. Finished two books!! Ready to start Bittersweet! Now that we're home, we need to put into practice the things we talked about ~ and there's the rub! It's easier for Satan to mess with us when we're distracted by the everyday stuff! My word from the week: GRACE!
Love you!!

Denise said...

Way to make me crave the beach!! I could spend every day at the beach :)

Megan Elizabeth said...

amen amen amen! the beach is the same for me! and our family!
such a great time to spend in Gods presence, so quite and peaceful.
great post :)

Mo Pie, Please said...

Beach trips are the best. My husband's grandma owns a condo in Clearwater so all we have to do is buy our plane tix to get there and everything else is free to use. It's perfect down there, especially when you go with people you love!

Lo said...

I completely agree! It's a beautiful time of dreaming and relaxing! I'm so glad you got to go! And I bit jealous my family doesn't get that same break this year! ;)

monster cakes said...

I know the exact feeling you're talking about bottling up. It reminds me of a post you did recently about how to balance all the technology since you also freelance work at night and on weekends. I think you should dedicate one day each weekend to this feeling you so long to bottle up. I do something similar, and I literally do not open my computer or my phone (unless I need to call of course). I don't do twitter, or blogs, or texting. I just be in the moment and do something that rejuvenates my soul all day. I walk. I read. I practice being "still" with God. I have meaningful talks with friends. I hope you find a way to bring that feeling with you everywhere!

Jennifer said...

Ah, I think the beach does the same for me. I just let life's worries go. The mountains help me relax even more so. I feel the closest to the Lord on a mountain...there's just something about it. We used to go every fall, but not anymore. You are lucky!

Jennifer said...

Ah, I think the beach does the same for me. I just let life's worries go. The mountains help me relax even more so. I feel the closest to the Lord on a mountain...there's just something about it. We used to go every fall, but not anymore. You are lucky!

aPearantly sew said...

This is exactly how I feel in the tiny little mountain town we travel to every year. Sometimes we go with my in-laws, sometimes it's just my husband, our boys & I. But everytime, it is a time of relaxation. A time of laughing and playing and eating and reading. A time to take long walks, play in the creek and watch the sunset. Honestly, I would make that area our home if I could. It's something my husband and I have talked about numerous times, because that's exactly what it feels like...home.

Kristina Clemens said...

This was such an amazing read! It's so ironic...sitting is all we do at the beach too! I get worn out watching all the people run around. My favorite thing is to watch the sunset and talk about how amazing it is that Christ made Himself the sacrifice so we could walk free. Awesome! =)
Kristina J.