19 April 2009

Time and Tide wait for no man

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of spending a week with my kids in the Cave of Adullam. Those of you who regularly visit my blog ('bout 12 of you as near as I can figure) and who know me personally ('bout 8 of the 12, I think) know that my wife and I have been separated for about 7 1/2 months. I've had some dark days, some of the darkest in my life during that time. I don't get to see my babies nearly as much as I'd like, so having an entire week with them was a blessing beyond words! Exhausting...but a blessing! We hung out at the cave, played my PS2 (which unfortunately didn't survive), watched movies, and a good friend gave us a guided tour of the Evergreen Air and Space Museum! I HIGHLY recommend it, I gotta go back and just spend HOURS walkin around that place!

The first day of their Spring Break, I took them to Lincoln City for a day at the beach. It's been years since I just sat and did NOTHIN for upwards of two hours at a time! I just let the kids play and relaxed for the first time in a long, long time. Later, we went to McDonalds then went back to a different beach for another hour or two. It was here that I experienced a profound moment.

I was sitting with Tim on the rocks closest to the beach while William and Elizabeth played farther out. There was a little puddle at my feet that had gotten trapped behind a rock when the last high tide went out. I noticed that I could change the color of the sand by stepping on it, which squeezed the water out, then lifting my foot, which re-saturated the area where I'd stepped. I took out my knife and drew a single word. I noticed that if I stepped around the word, it was barely affected by the water moving in and out. I could make it fade, but it would never completely go away. The only way I could have completely erased it...is by stepping directly ON it...and I'm not going to do that.

Eventually, the tide erased any trace of it, I know. Unfortunately, that word isn't written in sand...it's written on my heart. Nothing I can do will get rid of it, not that I really want to. But there's also only so much I can do to stop time and tide from fading it away. Oh, I could have built a high wall around that word on the beach...dug deep footings to prevent it from eroding from beneath. I could have stood and screamed at the wind and waves...how unfair they were...to attack my word! My poor, defenseless little word! If only it could help...but it just lay there...unable to respond or even understand why I wanted it to stay. I could have looked into the sky and railed at God..."why did you ever GIVE me this word?!?!? Only to take it away?"

I think I know what He would have said. "I want you to know ME, not the things I give you, no matter how much happiness they bring you." Even if the word had lasted, it was still built on sand. Even a lifetime is a dot on the page of eternity.

So I found a larger area of sand and wrote the same word, this time in letters about 6 feet high. You can guess what happened...a rogue wave came up, a good 20 feet further onto the beach than all the others...and washed half of my word away before I'd even sat back down.

So I played with my kids. Then I turned and left my word in the sand. I know what happened to it after I left...but only God was there to watch it happen. The rest of the week, I tried to make memories with them that they will carry for years. We went on to the museum later that week, and I took them to Multnomah Falls on the way back to Washington. Chicklet and I started a cute little saying that I suspect we'll be saying for years to come. And I came to terms with the fact that once you've done all you can do, you've done all you can do.

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