Sand, sun and white space

I couldn’t believe it.
The week we had looked forward to for so long was over.
We fit the last suitcase into the puzzle of the back of the car,
shook the last bit of sand from our feet and crawled into the vehicle, and headed AWAY from the beach.

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We usually go camping in the mountains once a year with my mom and sisters,
but this year we were itching for waves. Sand. The soothing of the tide coming and going.
So I scoured online, and looked at, I’m not kidding, over 50 beach houses, in search of the perfect one.
I passed by the one with the pool (sniff)
because we were going just after peak season ended and the price dropped a bit.
Who knew what September weather would be like?
Wouldn’t it have been sad to have paid for a pool, and stood shivering beside it instead?

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But I had finally found a house just a few blocks from the beach, and it turned out to be perfect.
The back of the house looked out over the sound, and the first few days ended up being these gloriously stormy ones, with threatening black clouds and streaks of lightening.
We loved it, steaming coffee cups in hand, wind ripping our face,
watching the swamp grass nod and bend in time with the storm’s hand.
But the rest of the week we had lovely, perfect weather…

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Being there for a whole week allowed us to fully relax.
I hadn’t realized how MUCH life had been pressing on my heart, edging away at my perspective, suffocating the joy out of life.
I sat on the beach, the sun warming my heart
and the waves washing, washing, washing away the pressures.

Our days had no agenda. We had no appointments. We had no meetings to be on time for.
And I soaked it up.
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But we are home now. Yes, refreshed and ready to go again,
but I wonder, how do I keep that rested heart?
That sure footing under the daily moments of being stretched thin?

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White space. I’ve come to love this phrase. To have a place clear of clutter to rest my heart.
I look at walls and envision that perfect piece of art there. This room with furniture just so.
Kitchen counters cleaned off and crumb free.
We need life to be real, and full of people with their joys and problems.
We need to be ready to put our shoulder to the plow, and help pull. Sometimes that means pulling hard.
Sweating. Sacrificing. Hurting.

But God gives us these moments of white space.
Of soft morning sunlight filtering through the leaves.
Of the neighbor’s horse running wild and free through the pasture.
Of sitting on the couch next to my husband, both of us relishing warm coffee and comfortable silence.

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When I was a child, we lived at the foot of a rugged mountain in Arizona named Squaw Peak.
I rode my tricycle there, had my first encounter with a rattle snake,
and learned about honesty under the shadow of that mountain.
But when I think of that view, what I remember most is my mom quoting,

“I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth…”

It was not just words.
It was this invitation to live not just there at the foot of that mountain,
but to live in a posture of always looking, knowing, depending on the help that came from its maker.

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So I put the beach toys away and stow our swimsuits in the bottom drawer, and sigh happily.
Thankful for the memories of our delightful week.

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And grateful that we can keep carrying part of it on with us, here in the moment of real life.

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6 thoughts on “Sand, sun and white space

  1. Dear Melissa – one of your best. Growing up, singing in the church choir, one of my favorite songs was “I will lift up my eyes unto the Lord, from wence cometh my help.” Thanks for the memory. Love, Ann

  2. great blog – but where was it!!! looks so peaceful!! love the pics to – esp the last pic and the “flying” one – lol – reminds me of my tossing all of you!

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