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Lessons at the Beach

July 27, 2010

This past week has been hard.  Not just because we’ve been moving everything out of the house my Dad built, but because, as with most families, there is a lot of underlying drama going on – and I’m not a fan.  I could easily go on about this for a while, but it’s probably better that I hold off and edit my thoughts so as not to spew something that I’d regret.  Anyway…

We worked at my old house from Wednesday until Sunday.  We lugged things down from the attic and up from the basement to sell in our mother of all tag sales.  I rattled off prices as people hauled away pieces of my memories. The whole thing was a bit surreal.  So, on Sunday afternoon, we packed up and headed down to the house that my kids know to be Grandma’s house – her cottage by the beach.

I love the beach.  I grew up where going to the beach was just a short drive away and as kids, we took family vacations to the beach every summer (because my Ma is the original bargain shopper!).  I have been living the landlocked life for most of the years since I’ve left home so any chance I get to be around water is like a deep exhale for me.

My landlocked born kids, well, this is the first time they’ve been to the beach during the summer in three summers which means this is all new for them again.  I have been in awe these past couple days as I have to explain things to them such as low tide and high tide, show them jelly fish that aren’t at an aquarium, explained the purpose of a buoy and how exactly a boat can be anchored off shore.  They’ve discovered different types of seaweed and learned which type of sand is the best for making sand castles.  Every time they find something new to ask me about, I’m always taken back for a moment as these are things that have always been a part of my life.

By far, one of their favorite discoveries this week is Grandma’s outdoor shower.  They start asking if it’s time for an outdoor shower as we start our walk back from the beach.  Their excitement for a shower means that yes, of course they can take one, and then they start planning.  They arrange all their beach toys in there and the fun begins and lasts until the hot water warms out.  It’s a hoot.

Yesterday afternoon they were at the beach for their first low tide.  We walked out on the sandbars (after I explained what a sand bar is) picked up countless snails and hermit crabs and splashed in the water until they were too tired to walk anymore.  As we settled in back at our spot on the beach, my son said “I wish it would go back to the way it was” and my heart dropped.  How did he know that I had been thinking the very same thing?  That being at the beach yesterday reminded me of three summers earlier, before my step father had died and my family had fractured.  All day, I had been longing for what now seems to have been simpler days and I was ready to respond about how I wished it’d go back too when my Ma jumped in and said that it would go back – that the tides would switch again in six hours and the water would all be “back” again.  A lump in my throat.  She was able to see that my sweet boy was obviously referring to his preference for high tide over low and here I’m about to bust into tears about how I wish things could just be as they were again too.

As I thought about what my Ma told him –  about how it’s a cycle and the tides go back and forth from high to low on a regular basis, I couldn’t help but pray that the tides would switch soon for my Ma.  That this low tide that seems to have been the shadow over her life since my step Dad died suddenly two years ago would switch with the high tides of the days before.  That she would no longer have to feel alone and question the motives of those around her but that she could rest in the rolling waves of blessings as they come in.

I can’t help but think  (and pray) that her high tide is coming in soon.  That this season of lows of lows will end soon and the tides will once again turn.  That her heart can find rest in the swell of the waves again instead of feeling like it’s just been trudging through the muck of the low tide. Regardless of the tide, I’m going to choose to find joy exactly where we’re at.  To share that joy with my sweet Ma.  And to finish the work at the ‘ole house tomorrow so that when the tide does start to come in, there is no work from her past left to be done but that she can start fresh without having to look back.  Until then, I’ll cling to Habakkuk 3:17-19 and find joy and strength in the waiting.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 1, 2010 9:27 am

    Oh wow, Ingrid. I am so sorry that you all have had such a difficult and emotional week. Will, my husband, just helped me to find your blog. And I am so glad that he did! You and Joel have an amazing gift for writing and ministering to hearts. We are both praying for you as you work through these difficult times of letting go of such a special, memory-filled place. My heart cried for you as I read your article! If you need a friend to talk to, please know that I am here for you!

    Encouraging in His Grace,



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