I’m at the beach (or was when I wrote this). It’s not any ordinary beach. It’s the section of glorious seashore known among southern Americans as 30-A. It’s a wide stretch of sugar-white shore line, aqua and blue and/or green waters and mostly gentle waves. It’s one of the South’s best kept secrets, but much to my dismay, a Scottish family, a German family, and two Canadian families were set up near us this morning. And as we left a man from Connecticut and his sister from Pennsylvania joined the people basking in the beauty of the sunbaked shoreline. I’m afraid the word’s out. 30-A is an international tourist attraction.
My husband and I come here each year to flop. And we do. We plop our chairs on the beach. Prop up our pop up veranda, and then flop in our chairs until nature makes us move.
During this time I catch up on reading. Raymond saw my stack of books—about 12 inches high (way too many words for one week) and he asked, “What is that about?” “Well, I don’t know what I’ll be in the mood to read on any given day.”
Among the books stacked there is my Bible (can’t leave home without it), Solo, and a book of poetry and essays. There’s an auto-biography, a non-fiction best-seller, and a workbook I’m working through with women I mentor. There are three novels, one I’m re-reading because it’s so good and people I know recommend the other two to me. Titles and names are at the bottom of this blog.
Why am I telling you this? Because so much of my life is spent in motion. Pauses like this, where I take time to consider other people’s ideas, the way they live in the stories written, the choices they make, and the wisdom they offer, are an important part of growth. And it takes time and space to grow.
We hurry too much. If we discover we aren’t living a well-rooted, centered life but a life that is hypocritical or ill-fitted instead, we often hurry through the awareness—not even trying to see what needs to be done to recover.
Reading and meditation allows us time to pause—unlike a television program or movie. We can reach the end of a paragraph or poem and stop—long enough to become convicted or encouraged or reminded of some deep truth that invigorates and feeds our soul. Sometimes I pause after an especially well-written sentence. “The skin of her neck folded turtle-like onto her collar and the hair at her forehead was fraying like an edge of cloth.” (Sue Monk Kidd; The Invention of Wings p 247 Viking 2014). (Isn’t that awesome!)
Rest does that, as well—allow us to pause. As I flopped on the blanket beneath our little tent, I thought about things I had read. I dozed. Awakened to think a little more. Prayed a little. Worshiped a little. Journaled a little.
I often use these weeks of sea and surf to contemplate where I’ve been headed, where I need to go, and how I’m going to get there. I regroup.
As a result of this time, I’ve written—lots. I’ve also got a blog plan. Which is also a nice thing. I’ll reveal that in the next couple days. Onward we go.
Meanwhile, I want to thank you readers, for your faithful reading of my blog posts. I want to always, always give you insight into the things I’m seeing and hopefully as I do, you will see, too. Or, if you like, disagree with me. That’s okay, too.
Holy Bible, NASB
My journal (unabridged and unedited and unpublished)
The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd
By Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante
The Search for Significance, by Robert McGee
Seasons of Your Heart, by Macrina Wiederkehr (essays and poetry)
A Lesson Before Dying, by Earnest Gaines
Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, by Nabeel Quereshi
The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin