This weekend I went to the beach. It’s been a while since I walked barefoot on the sand, feeling the salty water between my toes. The vastness of creation overwhelmed me. Clouds softened the heat of the sun making the temperature just perfect. As I walked down the beach, I wanted to soak in all the scenes, the smells and the taste. A father building sand castles with his son, a bicycle parked with a pair of sneakers on the side, people reading, others screaming and others yet just staring at the sea.
Everyone was enjoying themselves in their own different ways.
“When you come to the beach you feel that no one has a care in the world, that the world has no problems whatsoever,” I told my daughter in love, Mackenzie.
Yet, four scenes caught my eye: the first scene was a man with a metal detector with his head looking down in the hope of hearing the bling of a coin, a ring or any metal that has been abandoned on the shore.
The second was a mother with her three children playing in the sand then running to splash in the sea. She was busy looking at the screen of her phone never looking up in spite of her children calling out, “Mummy, look at me.”
The third was a fleet of birds gliding in the sky totally surrendered to the uplift of the wind. They glided so effortlessly, so peacefully.
The fourth was an eight-year-old boy flying a kite. It flew so high up that after some time, it went above the clouds and he could not see the kite anymore. Amazingly, he still pulled at the cord never doubting that the kite was still flying up there though he could not see it. His father was there beside his son teaching him the art of flying a kite and giving him instructions on how to pull the cord to keep the kite flying.
These four scenes set me thinking, which one of those four did I want to be? Which one of those four represented my life? I realized that at any given time, all four represented me.
The man with the metal detector was looking at the ground, the whole time he was looking down. Yes, he was walking on the sand and the salty water was touching his toes. Yet, he never saw the gliding birds, he never saw the screaming children. He did not see God’s beauty or hear the sounds of laughing children and barking dogs. All he really wanted to hear was the bling of metal.
How many times have I let my circumstances or my greed govern where I look? Whatever I am going through am I looking up or down? Am I missing all the blessings around me and just focusing on my problem, on me and on my past? How many times did I miss laughter and loving-kindness that God wanted to extend to me and has in fact extended to me? How many times did I miss that because I was focused on looking at the ground waiting for the bling of metal?
Maybe that bling is running after more money, working into the wee hours of the morning to buy that new car. It might be worrying about a spouse or a wayward child. Maybe that bling is an expectation of a long unanswered prayer. Perhaps it is living with the shame of the past or with an abusive relationship. Yet those things encompass and engulf me to the point that I only look down and so all I see is my unhappiness. I wait for my situation to change at my own terms. The more I look down waiting for the bling the more frustrated I become: frustrated with God and angry at those around me because they cannot understand what I am going through and what I am waiting for. The more I look down, the more I feel like a victim.
All the while the sea, the wind, the sand, the laughter are around me, yet I do not see, hear or smell them. This is no way means that what you are passing through is easy. I am in no way saying that the abuse you are going through is ok, or that you should not pray for that spouse or that wayward child. What I want you to see is this: looking down will not solve your problem, it will make it worse.
Other times I am like that mother who is looking at her cell phone screen, while her children are growing up. She is physically present, yet she is not really experiencing her children’s daily life. She is not present emotionally. She is too busy.
One day she will look up and find her children have grown and left home. She will feel sad that she doesn’t really know who her children are. She will blame them for not having a relationship with her. She will feel jealous of people who do know her children and who have taken the time to develop that relationship.
When my boys were growing, many times I was too busy. But we had a code. When my boys wanted to tell me something important, they would say, “Mother, look at me.” I would leave anything I am doing and totally concentrate on what they were saying. It is only through listening that I build bridges of trust with my children. They can trust that I will listen, really listen with my whole being to what they were saying.
Only when you build bridges of trust will your children come and tell you all their secrets, all that is bothering them.
And if ever abuse or bullying happens, they will come and tell you. Your children will not fear the abuser or believe his/her lies that you will not believe them. I discuss this in more detail in my book, What Happens After #MeToo– Tackling the Iceberg.
Then come the gliding birds. They have surrendered to the wind to carry them. Do they have problems? Of course. They need to find daily food; they need to find a daily shelter. They might return to their nest and find their little ones eaten by an eagle, they might not find their nest at all because the wind was too strong. Yet, they glide totally surrendered enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells.
That’s what I was doing at the beach, gliding totally surrendered the God’s beauty. Do I have problems? Of course, who doesn’t? But at that moment I chose to glide and imbibe God’s beauty. I felt so refreshed and relaxed when I left the beach.
At last, there’s that boy with his kite. He could not see the kite flying because of the clouds, yet he believed the kite was there. And here is where faith comes in. SO many times we cannot see what God is doing behind the scenes. Many times it seems as if God is not hearing your prayers, or that person is still mistreating you although you are walking in integrity. Maybe you tithe faithfully, yet you are tight on money. God has not opened the curtains yet. He is working on people, on situations, and on events. One day, God will open the curtains to show you something totally glorious. Just believe that that kite is still flying in spite of the clouds.
The sun is behind the cloud, or rather the Son is behind the cloud.
I am reminded of Lauren Daigle’s song Once and for all:
God I give You all I can today
These scattered ashes that I hid away
I lay them all at Your feet
From the corners of my deepest shame
The empty places where I’ve worn Your name
Show me the love I say I believe
Life goes by very quickly. I look back and think to myself, where have the days gone?
What am I spending my life on? Wallowing or wondering? In fear or in awe? Lifting my head up or looking down?
It’s your choice. What will you choose today?
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