Monday, August 31, 2009
My kind of beach
The beach always ranks as a top destination spot for my family and me, but to what kind of beach shall we go? I have traveled to beaches in Southern California, Nicaragua, Virginia, Massachusetts, Florida and Rhode Island. I will always love the lower development cool, drizzly, and cloudy beaches in Washington. Sunny and warm is my least favorite weather pattern. If you're looking for sun 'n' fun, I would recommend going somewhere else.
My family made fun of Moclips, Washington, growing up. We drove there once for I don't know what reason--our destinations of choice involved places that had more services available, like Ocean Shores and Long Beach. As a kid I lived for the trip to the Ilwaco Bowl bowling alley. I prefer Moclips now. Even though we saw people walking along the beach and even saw a wedding party a few hundred yards to the south of our little spot, it felt like we had the place to ourselves. My dear wife and I escorted our children to their favorite kind of outing in the world. It doesn't matter if we hit the Puget Sound or the Pacific Ocean--they can spend hours at the beach running around, picking, digging and exploring. The boundaries are natural and wide. They run, and we kind of follow them.
However, this trip to Moclips was also about family gathering and celebrating milestones--this time, my parents 40th wedding anniversary. I once had this image that perfect family gatherings were possible, if not at least expected. I observed in my childhood that this was a fleeting desire. An attempt to hit a moving target. Family gatherings are not perfect. We all have our imperfections and brokenness, and we do our best to recognize the blessing of family and enjoy the presence of one another. We prepare meals, we play cribbage (my youngest brother trounced me), watch baseball, share stories, and of course--play at the beach. My parents got to watch the whole imperfect, but blessed conglomeration of relationships that is our family.
The reason I like going to Moclips and the Washington beaches is I get to be in my favorite weather and contemplate the gentle yet powerful process that is erosion at work, and I get to do it in a peaceful way. It's the best witness to God I've had in a long time--the evidence of God's action is all around us, yet so subtle, like the undercurrent as it peels the sand away from the bottom of my feet. I can't do a thing about that sand that moves from under my feet. With that movement of sand, I am reminded that my time of two years of part time ministry, full time parenthood and their gently rhythmic yet powerful day are coming to an end. I return to full-time employment tomorrow. I have written more than I have in years, and I've realized that writing is a foundational activity for my balance. I've learned that writing is not a good activity in and of itself--most message boards have made "the pen is mightier than the sword" concrete. Where my writing will go from here, I do not know. Though the erosion may take away the resources from one place, surely they will be deposited somewhere else.