This was written in July 2016 before moving back to Texas after living a year on the beach in Florida.
Lately, the beach has been offering many life lessons for me.
I don't actually believe the beach holds magical powers, although there is definitely an energy at the edge of the world that is unmistakably addictive. But there is something fabulously rewarding about designating some quiet time in whatever location you happen to find yourself to listen to nature.
This past year, I've been lucky enough to have lived on the east coast, eaten from her rich offerings, drank from her fountains, and immersed myself in her indulgences, so the deep waters have lent her wisdom to me in many ways.
This morning, the sun had already opened the day, the sandpipers were searching for food, and the treasures from a long night of crashing waves had washed up on the shore. It was as if they were calling me to bend down, pick them up, turn them over, study their tales of faraway travels and deep sea survival.
I'm not sure what causes the "mother load" of shells, creatures, and sea glass to wash up on some days and other days, the sand is merely dotted with gifts, but today happened to be a day with a plethora of wonders.
And as I stepped over shell upon shell and the waves rolled under my feet in rhythmic timing, I noticed that each shell embedded in the sand, tiny as it was, was leaving a huge imprint in the water as it poured back into the ocean upon its retreat.
I stopped, grabbed my phone out of my pocket, and began taking photos of this small wonder.
At first, I noticed a rather large shell, standing by itself. And as the waves rolled in over the lone shell, covering it completely, and then proceeded to gush back out to sea, that single shell was making a large triangle shaped wake of its own.
I thought about the personal implications of this. I stopped to ponder what large impact a single shell can make. And then people came to mind who do this every day.
It made me think of Monica Dunlap, who just last week made her transition to heaven, but left a huge triangle wake behind her. The thing I remember most about Monica was that she was dedicated to Loads of Love in Lubbock. And if I understand it correctly, she spent hours a week, washing clothes for people who were either homeless or too poor to be able to afford a washing machine. I can only imagine the great care she took in washing and folding clothing that belonged to strangers, and the feeling they must have gotten when they went home with clean, fluffy and Downy filled clothing and sheets.
Then, there is Maggie Guthrie, and her sweet family, who leave large trails of selflessness consistently. Not only do they have Brynne's Smiles, and constantly give back to the Ronald McDonald House, Share the Warmth, Make a Wish and countless other ways they contribute to their community all the while teaching the value of giving to their children, but they also have Koda's Kamp which allows the siblings of terminally ill children a place to go and just be kids. I know there are many ways this family gives back when no one even knows about it, but the triangle wake they are leaving behind them is felt by thousands.
There is my friend Lucretia who is just about the most selfless and giving person I know.
I met her on Craigslist. Seriously.
We met in a dark alley. Not seriously.
She bought a piece of furniture from us on Craigslist because God will use the darnedest things to bring folks together. We hit it off because she's easy to love. And when there has been a need in my life, you know the really awful ones like loading a moving truck, my Craigslist friend was there with work gloves on. She always goes beyond the call of duty. She packed my pantry. She encouraged. She probably even had boob sweat--which is the sign of a true friend. But Lucretia doesn't just bless people who are her friends. She is constantly doing things behind the scenes for random strangers. She bakes for Tech kids who live far away from their families. These aren't kids who can repay her or who have family members who have asked her to care for them. Nope, these are kids who might not have a holiday meal if it weren't for Lucretia. She somehow knows the right time to call, the right time to bring bagels and the right time leave a huge triangular wake behind her with so many acts of kindness.
I continued my beach walk, allowing the sand to squish up between my toes, and the warm water to rush around my ankles. A few steps more and I saw tiny shells, dotting the shore. And as the water flowed away from them, back to the ocean, I saw hundreds of tiny triangular wakes. Some of them overlapped each other, some of them small and others bigger. And again, I began to ponder.
We are all like those tiny shells. We each have ways that are used to bless one another. We all have small things we can do to impact others.
Whether we are a big shell today or a small shell grouped with a bunch of other small shells, what we leave behind can make a difference in our world.
HUMOR-IST (is that a word?) I can find and expel (the word expel makes me think of passing gas) humor in most moments of life