photo credit: Amy Brown
I hear you now, humming quietly in your room. You look and sound all of your seven years. But that lilting tune of yours tells me to close my eyes and I remember…
The pier isn’t quite what I expected. The scent of cigarette smoke hangs like perfume in the air. The sand on my toes isn’t warm and powdery, but grainy and cold.
But the ocean. You see the ocean. And you run. My blue-eyed, curly-headed, wonder-filled three year-old.
I hurry after to keep you safe, then glance over my shoulder back at Daddy. He nods to say, “Go.” He will keep Little Sis warm and safe, wrapped up in a blanket while I watch over you.
I fix my eyes back on your little form, crouching on the sand now. “Coming!” I holler.
I kneel down next to you in that magical place – the place where surf meets sand meets sky. Surf too cold to play in. Sand too rough to welcome rest. Skies so cloudy they cover the sun. My first thought: We can’t stay here long.
But you don’t seem to notice the discarded soda cans a few feet away or the sound of someone arguing on the pier or the way the chill cuts through our sweaters.
You notice the seagulls, picking through the sand and lifting into the skies. You lift your face in delight and your feet in the chase, and as child runs after birds, mother runs after child, and suddenly the sand doesn’t hurt anymore.
You notice the ebb and flow, ebb and flow and splash of the waves, and you jump. Just foot-deep, just deep enough that the cold, it stings when I jump with you. But the life in your eyes takes the cold-sting right out of my toes.
After a moment we return to explore in the sand. And pebbles and sticks aren’t pebbles and sticks, they’re beautiful, unique little creations of God. We’re imagining, and you’re lost in wonder. And I let my thoughts fall for a moment on the One who fell on the Cross to be with me.
The One who is neither afraid of nor surprised by our stormy skies. Jesus, who “understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do…” (Hebrews 4:15, NLT). The One who’d walk barefoot through miles of sharpened stone, littered with signs of our sin… just to rescue you and me. The One who gives purpose to the pebbles and sticks in my life.
He beckons me each day to spend time with Him. To look up at the sky and give thanks for His majesty. To linger in prayer just a little bit longer. To be so hungry for His word that I just can’t put it down. Why is it that when I spend time with Him, the to-dos and must-dos drag my attention away? And always, nagging, in the back of my mind… I can’t stay here long.
Now the sun is ready to meet the sea, and it really is time for us to head back. So a piggyback ride it is, up to the cozy little two-bedroom house we’ve rented for the weekend, the one with the stickers in the upstairs bedroom that you won’t soon forget. Wet, cold and smiling we arrive.
And later… when we’re all dried off, warmed up, and fed, you go to the front porch swing with Daddy. I watch you swing. Back and forth, back and forth. Dunking cookies in milk, and laughing. I turn my eyes away only to find my camera and take your picture. Click, and I think, if only we could stay here longer.
You sing a little louder. And I’m back home again, with my seven-year old girl. That picture of you and Daddy eating cookies on the swing hangs proudly above the couch. And I pray that this will be another summer that we
Try new things
Laugh with the waves
Watch the sun meet the water.
Let our imperfect days make picture-perfect memories.
I pray that, in our time with Him and our time with each other, this will be a summer that we stay a little longer.
Happy summer, friends. Let’s Stay in Him together.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” ~John 15:9