and the beat goes on

Written by Sandra Heska King

PRAY EDITOR "Once a nurse, always a nurse," they say. But now I spend my days with laptop and camera in tow as I look for the extraordinary in the ordinary. I'm a Michigan gal, mom to two, grandmom to two, and wife to one. My husband and I live on 50 acres in the same 150-plus-year-old farmhouse he grew up in. I love this quote by Mary Oliver, "Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." That's how I want to live. And I'm still learning how to be. Still.

August 14, 2012

We sit in a parking lot near the lumber yard while the car shakes with my sobs.

“Are you going to be okay?” he asks. “Do you want to go home?”

Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so sensitive. I wish I could separate God pleasing from people pleasing.  I wish I didn’t feel another’s pain, or feel like I feel it.

I wish I didn’t feel so tired of this situation.

I wish I didn’t feel. so. helpless.

We decide to go on, and I dream of face throbbing to the sun’s beat, of body bobbing on waves, of water washing away tense.

But the closer we get, the further the sun gets. It buries itself in gray. And our one summer day at Lake Michigan seems destined for disappointment.

We swing our mats and chairs over shoulders, tote bags of books and Subway sandwiches, and a cooler of water. We hike through woods and over dune sand only to be met with a sea of platinum, few people on the beach, and none in the water.

I slip off my sandals and dare to dance a toe in ice.

That’s enough.

We eat lunch, and then D trudges the half mile or so back to the car for warmer clothes.

A seagull joins me. It eyes the sandwich crumbs under the chair but doesn’t dare come closer. I rustle in the box, pull out a small cheese cracker and lay it in the sand.

Food! Four more seagulls come from nowhere, and I laugh as the first flattens its body, fluffs its feathers, squawks and chases. It claims this territory, but it’s not coming closer.

I stretch out on the straw mat and doze under towel cover.

Under cloud cover, above and within.

D returns, and I sit up, cross-legged. I slip on my blue “Lake Michigan Unsalted” sweatshirt, pull the hood over head, zip up to chin. I wrap towels around my legs and nibble from a bag of mini Oreos while I watch the waves roll, topple, and fold in on themselves before they break into white foam and spill on shore.

I see the cracker’s gone.

“What causes the waves to break?” I ask.

He doesn’t know, but later I read they move faster in the deep, like ripples. But when they reach the shallows, they slow down. They get higher as bottom hits bottom, get ahead of themselves, lose their shape, and then collapse into white foam and churning sand.

There’s beauty in their brokenness.

I’m caught up in their rhythm.

But I think I’d rather be a deep wave.

I scoop up fine black and beige granules and let them sift between my fingers, then lightly pass my palm back and forth. God promised Abraham descendants like numberless grains. Did Jesus write the sins of the woman’s accusers in sand so they couldn’t lift a stone? Has He brushed mine smooth and sent them out to sea?

“There won’t be a sunset tonight,” I sigh.

“Oh, there’ll be a sunset,” he answers. “We just won’t see it.

I ponder this. How even when we can’t see, God’s got His holy finger on the pulse of this planet. The sun rises and sets, the moon slivers and circles, the seasons swing. All in perfect rhythm.

The very atmosphere, the air we breathe, quivers with His music. I close my eyes and listen, inhale fresh—and slightly fishy.

The sun peeks out briefly, and the water sparkles for a few moments.

I feel His finger on this fragile flutter heart. “Peace,” He whispers.

And the beat slows down.

And the beat goes on.

Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. ~Mark 4:39 (NKJV)

 

32 Comments

  1. terri tiffany

    You write with such passion! I loved this!

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      So fun to see you over here, Terri! And thank you. 🙂

      Reply
  2. Sheila Seiler Lagrand

    I love this, Sandy. One holy overcast day at the beach.

    His finger on it all. Yes.

    Reply
  3. Martha Orlando

    His presence and holiness and peace in all things . . . You have expressed these beautifully here, Sandy!

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      Oh, thank you, Martha. It’s comforting to know He’s there and He blesses in all things.

      Reply
  4. Diana Trautwein

    Love this, friend. Love it. I went in a sorta similar direction last night, too…. the light and the darks of it all. But this is gorgeous and rich. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      Thanks, Diana. And that post of yours? Oh my. Powerful.

      Reply
  5. kelli woodford

    Yes, even when we can’t see the sunset. Indeed.
    Sometimes I can’t seem to remember what I learned in Kindergarten, He’s got the whole world in His hands.
    Thanks for this very tender write.

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      Whole world. Every beat. Every detail. Thanks for coming by, Kelli.

      Reply
  6. lindalouise

    This is so good Sandy – just a little picture of life and the ever-present One. You always touch my heart.

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      Ever present in the midst of life’s slivers. 🙂 You do the same for me, roomie.

      Reply
  7. Lynn Mosher

    {sigh} You always take my breath away! Saying a prayer for you, sweetie!

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      Thank you, Lynn. You always encourage. Perhaps I shall eat a CDBS in your name today. 🙂

      Reply
  8. Ro elliott

    . Did Jesus write the sins of the woman’s accusers in sand so they couldn’t lift a stone? Has He brushed mine smooth and sent them out to sea? oh I love this line…I am taking this with me today…great post…blessings to you~

    Reply
  9. 1lori_1

    Beautiful Sandra, just beautiful……I am glad I saw this today, there is always a sunrise, sunset, when we have the faith to see it.

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      And we need those rhythms, the ups and the downs, for balance and growth, right? Thank you, Lori.

      Reply
  10. Elizabeth Marshall

    Sandra, how very very beautiful are your words and your heart here. Thank you for this…. and yes and amen to trusting and knowing even when we cannot see. Thank you for speaking these words of assurance.

    Reply
  11. Shelly Miller

    Isn’t it amazing the way we can see better with our heart when we sit next to what he creates? All that heaviness floating away with each ripple. You took me right beside you on that chilly bit of sand. Loved every minute.

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      That’s so true, Shelly. When I get close to His world, I and my heavy feel so small and light. And the tears turn to praise.

      Reply
  12. Jennifer@GDWJ

    Gasp! This is so beautiful Sandy. My.

    What a fascinating explanation of why waves break. All of it, pure beauty. You knocked it out of the park, girlfriend.

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      I thought the wave thing was pretty cool, too. I’m going to need to dive deeper into that. 😉

      I’m so glad I know you!

      Reply
  13. Joanne Norton

    I loved it. And I always enjoy watching seagulls. When I’m on the waterfront in Seattle, I always try to buy French fries and toss them to the seagulls that float around that area. THEN, when I’m on a ferry back and forth from Bremerton to Seattle, I toss fries to them again. Don’t think it’s healthy for them, but they sure love it and they ain’t skinny or sickly… they are happy. In October when I’m out there, I hope to do the same thing. AND look at the waves, AND the beach sands, AND the sun [or at least know it is rising and setting even if I can never see it]. Glad you survived your day of heaviness with your dear one and your Dear One.

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      We’ve had gulls dive from behind and take a bite of our food before. Little thieves. 🙂 Amazing what a day of water and waves can do for one’s spirits.

      Reply
  14. Laura Boggess

    Doesn’t sound like disappointment happened there. The kiss of sun on water–even briefly (maybe better for the longing) and the twining of the fingers? Just perfect.

    Reply
  15. Diane | An Extraordinary Day

    My most peaceful day will always be on the shores of Lake Michigan (unless there is a storm of course). God’s presence is magnified there for me. Those shores are a balm. Healing. I love your word pictures….I felt myself there, too. Three quarters of my life I lived not more than a mile or two from the lake, but no longer. I miss it greatly. Thanks for transporting me again.

    Reply
    • Sandra Heska King

      I would love to live closer than we do. Yes, those are sacred beaches–saturated with Him. Thanks, Diane.

      Reply

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and the beat goes on

by Sandra Heska King time to read: 3 min
34