Saturday, October 8, 2016
Salt water stings. It also heals. I dig my toes a little deeper into the sand almost as if trying to get a grip. To hang on. But the sand slips through. The waves roll over. The hold is lost. So slippery. Each moment in this life. Time and moments roll mysteriously by. I try to feel deeply, to love deeply in that second. Because in a minute the wave is gone and another comes along.
A few weeks ago our late night drive with the kids to Cape Canaveral landed us at a beachside hotel in Daytona way past Cinderella’s curfew. It just happened to be where we landed when we couldn’t drive any further. The next morning we spent a few hours on a beach I thought I would never return to. Makiah played the last week of her life there on those same sandy shores. I felt as if I was in her footsteps. So close. As if I might turn around and catch sight of her sandy blonde hair flying in the wind.
The week before she died I was on bedrest from complications with the twins. I didn’t dare trek down to the beach but sat instead by the window in the condo and watched my girl and her daddy play in the waves. She loved to chase the seagulls, and I remember I would look up from my books about parenting twins to discover I couldn’t find them anymore. I would strain my eyes trying to catch a glimpse of them down the beach and feel frustrated when I couldn’t see Makiah. A foreshadowing perhaps.
And now standing on that same beach where she dug her toes in. And digging mine down deep. Six years later exactly. She has gone before me. I strain to see. To catch a glimpse of what is up ahead. To love these sisters of hers as deeply as she would. To hold each moment closely but with the knowing that my grip is tenuous at best. I watch them splash in the same waves and chase what seem to be the same seagulls. All four of them.
And my heart whispers to God, “Why did you bring me back here?” Well, God and Priceline. Besides the good rate and free breakfast with a view, why am I standing on this beach I never wanted to see again? But I don’t really get an answer. Just the sting of the saltwater on my newly shaven legs. And the thought that saltwater stings. And it heals.
I hide behind my sunglasses and watch those four pairs of legs run furiously down the beach. Determined to catch a seagull. And I pray I will run like that. The race set before me. The story I didn’t ask for. The daughter I didn’t want to lose. The beach I didn’t want to visit. The seagull I may not catch. In this life. But I want to run. And not lose heart. And trust that the God who has brought so much life back will continue to bring healing through the stinging. There are no gaping wounds anymore. Scars for sure, but not open wounds. As the waves keep pounding the shore, so the pursuing love of my God has not stopped pounding on my heart. Even when it was barely beating and the sting was unbearable and I thought my whole life was ruined and any chance of happiness dashed to pieces. He was already carrying me. Now six years later I stand where she stood right at the end and I hear Him saying Run. Run. Run to the end. Because the end is not The End.