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There is Something about the Beach


I grew up swimming in the freshwater lakes in northern Wisconsin. My dad is from there, and going to Grandma and Grandpa's was always an adventure. We’d hike through the woods and pick up souvenirs along the path and afterward check head to toe for ticks. We would fish and swim and waterski in the lakes in the summertime, then have open campfires and make s'mores for dessert. In the winter, we’d snowmobile through the trails on my Grandpa's property and warm our toes after a day out in the frigid temps at their wood-burning stove.


It was always magical, and still is as I think about it today. I wouldn’t change a thing. It was a whole multitude of things.


So with family gravitating to the northwoods most summers, we never really took a beach vacation to the ocean while growing up. My first real memory of seeing the ocean was in Middle School, but even then it was just a view while in Seattle. Then again another trip as a young adult out in Atlantic City for more ocean views.


But my first REAL "sink your toes in the sand, take in the warmth of the sun, listen for the sounds and just linger there" experience was on my honeymoon to the Bahamas. In the quiet of a private beach, all I could hear was the almost musical cadence of the waves rolling in and then receding back into the water. I watched the water shapeshift with the tide and change colors with the position of the sun. I walked out into the water and felt the strength of force in the waves and noted my vulnerability next to them.


There is something about the beach.


Since then, I’ve had several beach trips, each one different and beautiful in their own way. A whole multitude of things.


The trip to the Oregon Coast, again just my husband and I, with a picnic on the beach. Another trip to the Pacific Ocean where my dad baptized my oldest son. The next day a glorious day on the beach where kids built sandcastles and explored shallow waters for shells and starfish. We made a fire and a makeshift living room from driftwood and just lingered for the day. I’ve walked the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea. I’ve sailed in the Baltic Sea outside Stockholm. I’ve felt the swelter and hospitality of the Carolinas at Myrtle Beach.


Each experience lending a new perspective. Each beach providing different sights and sounds. I can remember the feeling in the air at each location. I’ve watched the tides roll in and wonder, “Is the face of God behind the wind?” Back and forth they come, and it’s a metaphor that is my teacher. Life mirrors this rhythm. I place myself, through memory, at all of them and recall the calm or strength of the waters and how each time God spoke to me about who He is.


The beauty of a sunrise over the water points out how magnificent and masterful He is. From the sun's resting just above the waterline to high in the sky, like an artist on canvas, the most magnificent skies present themselves. The way the light reflects off the surface of the ocean and creates a million different colors. It sparkles with the most beautiful radiance, and I think for a moment that I must be in heaven.


There is something about the beach.

While in South Carolina, I knew I wanted to get up before dawn one morning and walk down to the beach to experience the entirety of the sunrise. I quietly snuck out of the beach house alone and walked down to the shore in the still and dark early morning. I spread out my blanket and sat down and just waited and watched I turned my head to look around, and suddenly there was my dad, walking along the shore in order to do the same thing I was doing. He didn’t know I was there, and I just watched him take it all in. I watched as he stood in awe of the sunrise, I watched as his silhouette was outlined by the blaze of color bursting behind him.


New mercy finding both of us.


There was something profound in seeing my dad there, like God the Father was saying to me that He was there too.


There is something about the beach.


In fact, there is something about all of creation that speaks to our Creator. Genesis declares His Glory and reveals His nature. It is a whole multitude of things.


Creation is His love letter to us.

“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature. So people have no excuse for not knowing God."

Romans 1:20 (NLT)


Your Friend,


Rachel

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