I’m on my way home from three glorious days at Wrightsville Beach, NC. While I am sun-soaked, relaxed and recharged, there is still an empty hole in my soul. In the midst of my vacation, many innocent people suffered a tragic and senseless death.
As I sat on the beach, I prayed for the victims, their families, our nation and our world. I continually asked myself, “What is wrong with our world, with the people in it filled with such hate and anger?” I did not and still don’t know the answer to that question. I do know that as I sat facing the ocean, I felt a sense of calm. Weird as it may seem, the vastness and power of the ocean helped me feel God’s presence in midst of the pain. I also began to truly look at all the people around me. By comparison with the awesome sea, we are mere specks much like the sand beneath my feet. But in those grains of sand is a diversity and uniqueness so beautiful. I glanced up and down the beach and saw an amazing slice of humanity. People of all color, ethnicity, age, and sex were gathered as families, as couples, as friends, and as strangers hanging out in harmony. Each person was enjoying him or herself without judgment, fear, or confrontation.
It seems to me that people convene at the beach to relax, to be with loved ones, and to possibly enjoy God’s beautiful creation. Somehow the beach gives us this gift to let down our guard and just be our true authentic selves. There is an understood respect for the ocean. The ocean belongs to no one but to all of us at the same time. We can’t understand or know all about her but respect her because God created her with all her many treasures that lie within. Likewise, God created all of us. Why can’t we respect each other? We don’t know the stories of each person we meet. Perhaps if we took the time to engage with one another as we do with the ocean, maybe we could feel and see each person as a gift to us like the ocean. This may seem to be a very simplistic analogy, but that’s how my brain and heart work sometimes. Simple yet clear to me.
I believe that if we could live each day as if we were at the beach or on vacation, life would be better. I continue to pray for all victims of prejudice or lack of understanding. May God help us to see more clearly the beauty in our world, both in the sea and the grains of sand.