The waves crash without any sign they will ever let up. Again and again, they pound the brown sand on the beach.
Will they never stop?
I couldn’t count the times I’ve visited the beach. The draw for some is irresistible. Not so for me.
I suppose my first encounter with the Atlantic Ocean at the tender age of three may have had some effect, however subconsciously. Soon after my father was stationed in Florida with the Navy, the whole family went down to the sands to bask in the sun. I don’t remember it well, but the pictures still lurk on the edges of my memories.
The ocean stole my beach ball.
What use it could have had for it, I don’t know. Still, there it is; tossed and swirled by the receding waters, the beach ball—the first one I had ever seen, much less played with—was gone beyond reach.
Other disasters have awaited—severe sunburns, cuts from broken glass, a terrifying experience in a riptide—these and other accumulated memories have led to my disregard for the beach.
Those memories came back with a rush this evening while I was with my grandchildren. We tagged along with them to watch a soccer game in which their brother was playing, but a couple of them wandered off, bored with the action on the field.
I found the two children playing in the sandbox a little later. The sand was all over them. Hands, arms, legs, clothes—I think it was in their hair too.
When it was time to go, I suggested that they should make sure they got all the sand off they could so they wouldn’t get my truck too dirty.
As I turned away, I muttered under my breath, “We wouldn’t want to take the whole beach home, would we?”
With those chance words, I was sitting on the damp sands of South Padre Island again, a place I’d sat for many hours growing up.
Did you know when you swim in the ocean, or gulf in this case, that there is never any relief from the waves that smack against you?
You wade in and then, as the depth drops down far enough, you swim for awhile. It’s never deep enough that you can’t stand up if you want. Which is a comforting thought—until you spend a little time in the surf.
Again and again, the waves slap against your belly, or chest, or shoulders, knocking you down into the water. If you stand up, it happens again. If you work at it, you can almost dodge the waves by jumping over them. After awhile, you might even be able to play a game of frisbee or toss around a kickball.
But, from time to time the big waves come in, and there’s nothing you can do. Every time you stand up, you get knocked down.
I don’t swim at the beach anymore. I get my feet wet and wade at the water’s edge. Sometimes, I just walk along the wet sand, dodging the incoming wash that is losing momentum before returning to the deep. Then I sit on the sand well beyond the reach of the water until I can stand it no more.
Some folks find the beach restful. I just find myself wishing someone, somewhere, would find the off switch for the incessant waves and let me have some peace and rest.
It has never happened. I think they may keep coming, world without end. Time will tell.
We fall down. We get up.
I understand the importance of perseverance. Really, I do.
The thing is, life is so much like being at the beach, I probably don’t even need to point it out. The parallels are obvious—to me, anyway. Yet, the beach remains one of the most popular vacation destinations there is. Where is the logic in that?
We fall down. We get up.
Do you know, if you go further out from the shore, you’ll reach a point at which the waves no longer break? It’s true. The water just rises and falls gently, one lazy slope after another for you to float upon. Smoothly, up one side and down the other, you can just drift easily.
No stress. No effort.
Go out past the waves! How simple is that? Why don’t we all do it?
Imagine. No waves smacking at your chest to knock you over. No powerful, curling breakers smashing down on your head from up above.
Oh. I forgot to mention one thing:
You can’t touch the bottom there.
There are no breakers because there is no tension between water current and land mass. The lack of friction allows the currents to move the water smoothly. It seems the perfect place to be until you tire of floating and need to really relax. Suddenly, it’s not all that great a place to be.
You can’t stand up.
Yeah, you can’t get knocked down. But, you can’t stand up.
Am I the only one who feels like life keeps knocking me down?
Am I the only one who is tired of it?
I’m ready to go out beyond the breakers and rest. Just drift along.
The Lifeguard tells me I can’t do that. He also assures me of the safety of remaining under His care.
I get annoyed more than I want to admit. I hate the constant battering. I want it to stop.
I want an easy life. All around, I see folks who don’t struggle as I do. They have everything they want. All they do is float along on the current, never struggling, never being knocked down.
They float along on the current. Maybe that’s not such a good thing.
I realize I need something solid under my feet. That way I can’t be blown along with the crowd to places I don’t need to be (Ephesians 4:14)
What good is it to drown in a crowd? You still drown.
The waves keep coming. Jesus said they would. He also said we need not worry about it. He has overcome them. We can too. (John 16:33)
Let the waves roll.
We are waiting for answers, but we’re not discouraged.
They knock us down.
And yet . . And yet, we are not defeated. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
(Ephesians 3:20-21 ~ KJV)
The bravest sight in the world is to see a great man struggling against adversity.
Seneca the Younger ~ Roman philosopher ~ 4 BC-65 AD)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2016. All Rights Reserved.