There aren’t many things I can say with absolute certainty, but I know thing I know to be true is that getting up early to watch the sunrise is always worth it. Especially at the beach.
I have always found solace in the sky. It gives me pause and gets me out of my head. It helps me put things in perspective. And it reminds me of the goodness and faithfulness of God, which the theme of this post from August 2013. My hope is that it lifts your spirits and provides you the same sense of peace that it did me.
While we were on vacation last week, it rained off and on every day. Which wasn’t a big deal at all. But Friday (our last full day) was predicted to be beautiful and sunny all day. And because of that, I really wanted to savor the day. The whole day. So I decided that I would get up and walk down to the beach to watch the sunrise.
So Thursday night I set my camera on the table in the screened in back porch to prevent it from getting all fogged up the minute I set foot outside the next morning. Next I laid out my clothes and my flipflops. And then I set the alarm on my iphone for 5:15 a.m.
Well 5:15 rolled around and I drug myself out of bed. (In case you didn’t already know this…I am not much of a morning person.) I got dressed and pulled on a baseball hat. Then I grabbed my camera and headed out the front door. The dark sky was just starting to lighten up in the east so I hustled over to the beach which was about a ten minute walk away.
Once I made it to the public beach entrance, I removed my flipflops and walked barefoot in the sugar-soft sand towards the water. best. decision. ever. You see, all week long the water had been pretty rough due to the rain and storms. But that particular morning, oh my goodness, the water was so calm. So peaceful. And I immediately felt a sense of serenity wash over me.
The other great thing was because it was still mostly dark, there was almost no one on the beach. The beach front hotels/condos hadn’t put up their ‘private beach’ signs and the water’s edge wasn’t yet lined with beach chairs and umbrellas. So the one guy with ponytail who was sitting on the beach meditating and the runners/walkers and I had the beach pretty much to ourselves. Which was heaven.
So I walked down the beach a little closer to the water and down aways from meditating dude to give us both some space. And then I sat down in the sand and faced east. The sky was just starting to show signs of some color, so I grabbed my camera and fiddled with a few settings. I propped my knees up and dug my feet into the sand a bit. Then I rested my elbows on my knees to make my own makeshift tripod. And then I clicked the shutter button.
Every so often, as the sky began to glow with hues of coral and peach, I would snap a couple of shots. But mostly I just sat there in the sand. Listening to the soothing sound of the water lapping serenely there right next to me. Meditating on the sky with my camera.
Like I said before, all week long it had been mix of sun and clouds so on that Friday morning there were still a few lingering clouds around. And at first they just sort of made dark blue smudges across the soft, pastel sky.
But then, something remarkable started to happen. As the sun began to leak up out of the horizon, the clouds began to glow bright coral as they reflected the sun’s light. Making the sunrise even more breathtaking if that’s even possible. And I just sat there in awe. Tears running down my cheeks. Me and the clouds bearing witness to the sun.
Even after the sun rose fully and the sky turned pale yellow, I continued to sit there on the beach. I turned and faced the crystalline, aquamarine water. My heart so full. And I just stared out in the ocean. Taking the in the vastness. Overcome with humility. And strangely enough…peace.
You know, I live a pretty small life. I go to work, come home, spend time with my family, go to the store, cook dinner, pull weeds, fold clothes, walk the dogs… a very small, ordinary life. And I love it. It is my sanctuary. And the thing is, it’s pretty easy to talk about faith and hope and trust from inside the safety of my four walls (so to speak). But when you’re out there…face to face with the uncertainty and enormity of this life… having faith when you have no control and trusting when you can’t see everything… well that’s a different story altogether.
This has been my journey the past couple of months.
But here’s the thing. I went down to the beach because I expected the sun to come up. Because the sun has never not come up. The sun is steadfast in its predictability… even if I can’t see it. And sitting there on the beach, confronted with this simple truth, I felt wrapped in the arms of my Heavenly Father. Face to face with His faithfulness. And then I realized that like the clouds, my troubles reflect His light. My troubles in life reflect His goodness and create wonder and beauty that takes my breath away. My struggles and trials in life bear witness to His Grace.
The truth is I don’t have any more answers than I did before I went to the beach. But what I do have now is peace. And so now my prayer is not so much to quiet the seas or remove the clouds from the sky…but rather, to remember the sunrise and give thanks for His faithfulness.