Early on I read that grief is like the ocean. It comes in waves. Some waves are large and nearly knock you off your feet when they crash into you. As time goes on, those waves become smaller and easier to withstand. They don’t disappear, but you learn to anticipate them-birthdays, holidays, anniversaries. Those roll in larger and stronger.
We have just returned from a two week trip to Florida. We had a wonderful time as a family with plenty of adventures. As I packed for the trip, I was the most excited about introducing the boys to the ocean. Little did I know God was going to impress His own truths into my heart that day as well.
As I walk along the beach I stare at the horizon. The ocean is calm, the waves roll in slowly and gather around my ankles before receding back from where they had come. The sky is the light airy blue you would expect it to be on a beautiful day like today.
I needed this. I needed the sunshine, the salty air, the movement of the water. I pause as I ponder the analogy of waves and grief.
Memories pound across my mind’s screen. Big waves-the accident, the week after, the month after. Smaller waves-moments like these where I can breathe in deep. I can recognize the successes, healing, and victories. The small moments of joy with the boys or Brett and the day I realized I hadn’t actually died.
Up and down the beach people stand calf deep, carefully scooping up sand and sorting through it. The shore is crowded with people of all ages and in suits of every color. Usually crowds distract me, but not today. Today God is trying to calm my anxious spirit, I can feel it. I can hear toddlers squealing and teens chatting. Pelicans soar low over the water seeking their lunch. I am surprised at how large they are.
Joel points at a little brown bird scampering across the wet sand. I push him up higher on my hip and look down into the water. Shells layer the sand. Whole, perfectly round shells, rough and jagged shells, pink, brown, white, and gray. I glance up the shore. More shells scattered across land where the water had placed them. I shield my eyes and scan the crowd for Caleb whom I had left searching for sharks teeth. He holds up a tiny black tooth and his grin speaks volumes. I smile too. He has found a treasure.
Joel is pulling my large cream colored shell out of my hand. He turns it over and over studying its pattern of grooves and probably wondering what it is. He looks up at me with curious eyes and a crooked smile. He has found his own treasure.
My thoughts return to the waves. The waves bring these treasures to the shore. Gifts from deep dark places that we can’t see. They come from a place we cannot visit on our own.
What if hard times are like the waves? What if they leave us treasures?
We can’t see the riches at first because the waves are pushing us over and we are struggling to keep from drowning. It’s only after the water recedes that we find the shore littered with gifts from the deep. Treasures we wouldn’t have discovered if it wasn’t for the waves.
Some of the precious items lay there in plain sight obvious to every passerby, while others have to be patiently dug out and only found by those whom diligently search. In some cases we have had these treasures all along, but didn’t recognize them until the waves cleaned them off and polished them up.
Our God is great like that. He can take the pain and suffering of this world and bring something good out of it.
Joel is getting heavy. We turn around and head back to the rest of the family. Caleb is holding up a water bottle and yelling excitedly to me. “57 sharks teeth!”. Whoa!
I send up a prayer of thanks for one of my treasures- the long legged blond haired boy standing in front of me. Here is the message he made me later with all of those teeth 🙂
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