So we are on day three of our spring break get-a-way. A big shout out to Megan for house sitting for us. This morning I’m thinking about three beach realities that inform my walk with the Lord and my place in the world. These thoughts coalesced this morning as I read my Bible out on the deck and heard the surf pounding the shore.
1. A lot of the trees found here, either in the dunes or just off of them lean away from their roots. These trees have grown in the constant wind—strong wind—blowing off the shore. The tree looks healthy and actually looks strong, but it leans away from the beach. The strong, stormy wind blowing off of the waters is an appropriate biblical image of the nicks and dings of life that blow over us. These winds of illness, relationship troubles, and economic problems all blow us and force us to lean away from them, but we can’t escape it.
The Bible, in Psalm 1, describes that the righteous person is like a tree with deep roots. It is the roots which hold us in place. Our trunks may lean, flinching from the pain, but if our roots are deep—deep into the Scriptures, our church community that holds us accountable, and our ongoing connection to Christ Jesus—then we will hold in there, faithfully, even if we lean a bit. Our lean might be kinship to Jacob’s limp.
2. Yesterday we built a sandcastle in the frigid sand. It was actually a pretty good one. Phoebe decorated it nicely and Chelsea helped build the walls. Kim took photos. Today, though, that sandcastle is gone. The surf pounded all night and washed it away. Sad face.
It doesn’t seem to matter what we build on this earth, the pounding, thumping, surf of time and nature eventually destroys all of our handiwork. Your beautiful yard you work hard to manicure, the car you polish, wax, and vacuum, the job you think is so important all will fade out of existence.
The only things that remain are the eternal things. Of course, the most important eternal thing is our very soul which is kept in Christ. But I’m also thinking of the eternal aspect of our relationships and our memories. Long after the sandcastle has washed away back in to the sea from which it came, my family will remember the day, the moment, and the laughter. These are the things we take with us through life that really matter: Our memories and the relationships.
3. While we are here at the beach, time is measured a little differently for us. I’m still wearing my watch, but I’m not nearly as concerned about it as when I am at home. I’ve been told that there is such a thing as “beach time.” I admit I don’t know what that really means, but I first was introduced to it years ago at Ocean Shores, Washington. Beach time seems to be that concept that it is not the ticking of the hands that matters, but the quality of the time and the enjoyment of the moment. Beach time doesn’t say, “We’ll eat at 5PM,” it says “When we’re done flying a kite we’ll eat.” This week, the Greenings are on beach time!
This made me think of the New Testaments distinction between kairos and chronos. Chronos is the ticking, thumping, deadline oriented time that most of western culture lives in. But kairos is God’s time, the “last days” kind of time, not measured by the clicking ticking clock but by the advancement of the Kingdom of God. Somehow I need to recapture kairos and loose some chronos.
Maybe I’ll learn another couple of things before we leave. Maybe. I hope.