If you are like me, when life starts catching up to you, you find yourself day dreaming of getting away–just a short respite to the beach to gear yourself up for the grind of everyday life. Perhaps it’s the cooling temperatures or the shorter days, but recently I have found myself longing for some “beach therapy,” lying in the warm sun, listening to the waves roll in and embracing the sand.
Growing up in rural Missouri, we didn’t give much thought to the beach. There isn’t much sand in the woods and the beach was just some far off place where people of greater means spent time away from a long winter or cooled off a scorching summer. Then in my teenage years we were invited to tag along on a trip to Florida and it didn’t take long to recognize the therapeutic attraction as I basked in the warm sun.
I also learned one irrevocable truth about going to the beach–you simply cannot escape the sand. Whether you lay on a towel or sit in a chair, it makes little difference. The sand will find you! No matter how careful you are, sand gets everywhere when you go to a beach: in your bag, in your swimsuit and all over your skin. Often times, even after swimming, showering and thorough rinsing, you still find sand in every crack and crevice on your body. Return from vacation and no matter how vigilant you are to rid yourself of the beach, the sand remains…in your shoes, in your suitcase and even in your hair. If you are going to head to the beach, you simply have to learn to embrace the sand.
As it turns out, the same processes are at work in our spiritual lives. No matter how much we read the bible or regularly attend church services, from time to time we all need a spiritual vacation–a brief respite, a change of spiritual scenery, a chance to bask in the glory of God and to prepare ourselves to meet the spiritual challenges we are faced with in everyday life.
In spiritual terms the beach is a way station between the terra firma of what is behind us and the vast unknown sea that is our future. Periodic religious conferences, retreats, revivals and extended periods of prayer and meditation are necessary to help us navigate life. These spiritual beaches allow us to break from our daily lives and recharge our spiritual batteries. Just as with vacations from work, spiritual vacations stay with us long after they are officially over because of the sand. Those tiny granules of Godliness get all over us, from our hair to our shoes and when we return to our daily lives we can draw tremendous strength when we find God’s sand in cracks and crevices of our lives.
Yes, it’s time to get away and embrace the sand!