Lines in the Sand

I love to get away from day to day activities and go off into the “wilderness.” Wilderness being that limited space where regular life is suspended, identity shifts and new possibilities emerge. Two weeks ago, was one of those times as I walked alone on the beach. It was cold. It was windy. And it was very empty, giving me the space to get lost in my thoughts. After about an hour, I decided to sit down for a few minutes to pray and journal my thoughts and how God was speaking.

Laying on my back in a dune on Mustang Island, I pulled my hoodie up over my eyes to block the sun and provide some warmth. But in doing so, I no longer saw the vast ongoing gray water speckled with moving rolls of white as waves crashed on themselves. I realized that is not so uncommon in my day-to-day life. Most days, I see the world through my very limited reality filtered by distractions and perceptions. But other days I hear God whisper to me to sit up with eyes wide opened and see the abounding beauty around.

So, I did. I sat up and looked. And I was fascinated at all I saw. A frayed yellow fishing rope was half buried right next to a tiny pink flower barely popping through the sand. Destruction and hope side by side. The blue-purple bubble of a man-of-war jellyfish with colorful twisted tentacles had washed up too far on to the shore ever to hope to find a way back to life in the water. A few inches away were tiny crabs digging furiously in the moist sand. Life and death neighbors. The breeze of the wind cooled my cheeks, and I remembered the destruction those winds caused last fall as a hurricane rolled over this spot. Power and gentleness existing in the same stirring of the atmosphere.

Picking up a stick, I began to doodle in the sand, wondering about God’s plans this new season of life. Having just launched my own business, I have much I am seeking God for these days. As I move forward in this new phase of my life, I want it to be meaningful and impactful. I want to know that I am using all my experiences in a way that makes a difference.

Thinking about the next steps, I looked at the marks in the sand, I just drew. They were almost gone. I picked up the stick again and traced a small heart. Barely perceivable tiny grains of sand moved swiftly across the heart I created. The wind danced with gentleness across the surface of the sand. The moving of the sand became a great equalizer of the ruts I dug and the rippled surface of the dune.

I didn’t sit for long before I saw the entire heart disappeared. Fascinated I did it again. This time I drew deeper to see how long it took for the image to disappear. The wind did as the wind always does, and in minutes the tiny heart was gone. I think about my new business and the desire to make a difference and I know one day, there will be no trace of these day-to-day activities. Talk about perspective and lessons learned just sitting in the sand.

Staring down and the ripples in the sand I wonder about this work called reconciliation. As we journey into the call of the ministry of reconciliation, we quickly discover it is challenging and messy work. There is no predictability in how human interactions will play out. But doing it well can result in profound transformation. And in that, another contradiction is found. Reconciliation is messy and ugly it is also cleansing and beautiful.

So, our only hope is to build our foundation on the love of Christ. It is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus that invites us into the ministry of reconciliation. He has shown us how to love, and He has indeed called us to follow. We did not choose Him; He chose us. He chose us to bear good fruit and that our fruit would abide. Within us is an instinct to make a difference in the world. Make a mark. Do something significant.

Tears fell on my already salty cheeks as I thought of all that God has done and continues to do. My heart aches to live a life worthy of the love and faithfulness he has poured out. Also, one day all I have done will disappear. And yet I can still make a mark and demonstrate the love of God. I can go and bear fruit and that my fruit would abide.

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide.” John 15:16

 

"For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away" James. 4:14

 

 

Cheryl Miller