Rhonda Cagle

Beachcombing

In Uncategorized on July 18, 2010 at 9:11 am

Some people find sanity and wholeness on the couch in their shrink’s office. Others think they find it in a bottle or pill. If they’re lucky, they come much closer to discovering it in AA or a rehab program. For me, however, the frayed ends of my tattered sanity find mending while sitting by the ocean. There is something healing about watching the waves roll in and out. The rhythmic crash of the surf drowns out the other voices in my head and my fears and worries are quieted. Time at the ocean does more than tie a proverbial knot at the end of my resources so I can hang on a little longer. After a few days of therapy, I find the tattered bits of myself have been repaired and reconnected, forming a longer bit of emotional rope than I had when I first sank my toes in the sand.

Hypnotized by the waves, I lose sight of everything else for a while. The ebb and flow of the tide tugs and pulls from me sadness and doubt, weariness and worry. They are literally swept away, consumed in the waves that carry them out to sea. In their place, I’m left with treasures from the deep. Like a beachcomber discovering shells and rocks tumbled smooth by the ocean, I pick them up and carefully examine what I’ve been given.

In one of these hypnotic states, I became aware of a father and son heading toward the water. Dad held a surf board and son walked right beside him, “helping” his dad carry the long board. They waded into the water, establishing a new sense of balance amidst the movement of the ocean. Dad held the board while his son hopped on. I could see dad giving instructions to his son and the boy nodding affirmatively to his father’s advice.

Finally the big moment came. They took off for deeper water, dad holding the edge of the board while son laid belly down, his little arms windmilling in and out of the water.  The wave came. Dad helped turn the board to move with the water. His son quickly tried to stand, wanting to ride the wave to shore – and fell.

As his head disappeared beneath the waves, his hand came up out of the water, reaching for his dad. Instantly, dad’s hand caught his, pulling him up and out of the water. He scooped up his son in his arms, grabbed the board, and waded back to shallow water.

Over and over, this scene repeated itself. Again and again, dad and son would make their way away from shore, waiting for the wave the son would ride back to land. And time after time, the son would lose his balance and go under. Each time, his dad was there waiting to pull him up and try it again.

Finally, it happened. The board turned in unison with the wave and the son stood on the board and found his balance. Dad let go of the board and the son rode the wave toward shore. Dad followed behind watching his son ride the waves. Trudging out of the water, dad and son wore triumphant smiles, celebrating the son’s achievement.

Watching this scene, I couldn’t help but think of another Father. Time after time as I’ve felt myself going under, my hand has flailed, reaching for something – someone – and He has grasped mine in His, pulling me up and out of the water. Over and over, He’s steadied life, allowing me to find my footing and balance. And He’s been there celebrating with me when I’ve felt moments of joy, riding the waves.

I’m leaving the beach this morning, heading back to life. But I’ve gathered a few treasures from the deep to take with me – the memory of a father and son following me home.

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  1. I’ve found threads of sanity in all of the above. It’s the one thing I truly miss about not living on the Coast: the ocean. There is great healing in the rhythms of nature. In college, my sanity restoring break was a ferry trip to Victoria. I also remember the day, sitting by myself in the Butchart Gardens, gazing out onto an area behind the formal gardens of green grass and evergreen trees and feeling my soul being restored. It feels like the Father above is looking out for His children and Mother is here on earth in nature providing havens of restorative energy for our souls. We are blessed, aren’t we?

    Yes, I’m REALLY behind on my blog reading!

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