I had a special lullaby last night. The waves were body slamming one another and bouncing off the hard sand in a performance that could be perhaps the most reliable and constant force in nature. To me the sound of the surf interacting with the sand is music. It’s a concert I would attend every morning of my life and never tire of the sights or sounds. It’s a relief to be back at the beach. With all the life changes that occur in my life, especially relevant now as I am perched on the edge of my eleventh family move, the beach is the once place I go to every year, no matter where I am living, whether I am moving, traveling, having a baby or adopting one. Craig has been coming here with his family every year since he was a boy, and since I met him at age 19, we’ve been regular attenders. We haven’t missed a single year. The shores of the outerbanks in North Carolina wave the welcome flag every third week in July, and we accept the invitation with special reverence to the way God gave the ocean a soothing song.
When I first awoke this morning I took my coffee and my camera for my first walk on the beach. I couldn’t stand it so I rushed back to get Kira. I actually woke her up from sleeping in the arms of her snoring daddy. I wanted to be alone with her on the beach and take in every minute detail as she received the new experience. I memorized her reaction and marveled over her bravery as the water crashed in on her feet, challenged her balance until she toppled face first into the cold sand and foamy water. I lifted her to her feet; she looked out at the ocean and wondered what in the world happened. Not a sound came out of her. We walked on and she stopped walking when the water came close to her, she braced herself, and allowed the water to brush her ankles. She wised up after three tests and stepped a few baby paces away from where the water comes and watched it come in and go out. Crash and disappear. Foam and spread. Not once did she smile or emit a sound. Not once did she back down. And she never took her eyes off the action.
I imagined for a while what it would be like if this were my first time seeing the ocean and feeling its power mingling with its beauty. I ought to try and see it as if it were the first time. I would fall to my face and know for sure only a God as great as the one I worship is capable of creating such a wonder. I’m helpless and captivated by its constant motion, which is much like living with a toddler. It would take me all day alone with the ocean to grow sleepy and realize it is not just a song, but a lullaby. The only perfect nap is taken in its presence. I could get tired and not be tired of it. Ever.
I think if I could do it all over again, I’d get married to Craig right there on the beach with nothing but family, a clutch of pretty flowers, a flimsy flowy dress, a short veil he could lift to kiss me, bare feet, and a lot of leftover cash for a world tour honeymoon. Maybe I can talk Kira into a wedding like that. The ocean would be the orchestra and band. Perfect. I wish I knew then what I know now. Sitting with family and talking about God and what He says in His word on the beach is as perfect a church as I’ve ever stepped into. Why would we think what we can make is better than what God has already made? I often feel that way when I climb on a mountain and stand at its summit. Here is where I want to worship God on the ground beneath the sights and sounds He created.
I have one week here to get my satisfaction and fill. Next Saturday when I drive back to the airport I will not want to say goodbye to the beach, but by now I don’t have to remind myself that it will be the same time next year, unless I’m home, eternally Home. And that has to be better than the beach. Maybe it is like the beach. Do you think God put a beach in heaven? I hope so.