Tuesday, September 20, 2011

the sandpipers

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of spending some time at the beach with my family.  Literally.  Condo within spittin' distance of the Atlantic.  It was glorious.  

We collected shells {I smell some crafting fun in my near future}, watched surfers {who had some great waves, thanks to a passing hurricane}, played in the waves {when the rip current wasn't too ridiculously strong...}, ate at a couple of local restaurants {DaKine Diego's Insane Burritos. ridiculously good.}, and just enjoyed our time being together as a family.  

We are beach people, through and through.  There's just something calming about watching and listening to the waves.  It's almost hypnotizing.  My mom and I discussed the incredible amount of energy the ocean contains.  My heart kept singing, O Lord, my God... when I, in awesome wonder, consider all the works Thy hands have made... Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee... How great Thou art...  Even Caleb has listened to the ocean on a sound machine all night, every night, since he was just weeks old.  We. Love. The. Beach.

And, in all honesty, who has been to the beach and NOT noticed the sandpipers, playing along the water's edge?  
(image courtesy National Geographic)

As the waves go out, they scurry as quickly as their little birdie legs will carry them, and they start searching in the sand for these little, itty bitty creatures that live in shells, as well as whatever other insects they can find and quickly eat.  The shell dwellers know the birds are coming, too, because as soon as they're exposed, they start trying to bury themselves in the sand and hide.  Burrowing deeply, I imagine them holding their breath until another wave comes to sweep them away from the danger of the sandpipers.

One morning, I awoke before everyone else {and let me clarify- that was literally one. morning.  My little alarm clock made sure everyone was up no later than 7am each day. Bless him.  How else would we have seen every sunrise?}.  I quickly made my way out to the back porch, overlooking the ocean.  I had just a few moments before the sun started to peek over the edge of the horizon, and there was this deep longing in my soul to spend those moments talking to my Creator.  The One who spoke everything {this magnificent ocean... this worn-out, weary mom... everything} into existence.  And, as our conversation ensued, I once again began to observe a sandpiper, running back and forth at water's edge.  Just like this one...

Surf Bird/Sandpiper dancing from Richard Smith Jr on Vimeo.

I noticed something about the sandpiper.  He never watched the water.  There was no challenge in moving at just the right time, it was all instinct.  He wasn't nervously watching the waves, trying to get it all right, worried that one would pull him under just as he was trying to grab a bite.  He never looked.  He just did what he was created to do, and trusted that he would be safe.  

I wondered, almost out loud, "How?  How does he know when the water is going to start rushing toward land?" And without missing a beat, the One I was conversing with spoke softly to my heart. "The sandpiper spends his life out here in the ocean... he immerses himself in the environment... everything he does revolves around this ocean.  That is why he doesn't even have to look."  I sucked in a breath, contemplating the depth of this realization.  As I exhaled, I heard Him say, "Daughter, immerse yourself in me, and you won't even have to look around you.  I am all you need."

... and He is.

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