While sitting at the beach and during my time there I wrote down lessons I learned and/or observed and want to remember. In my life I get so busy I forget things that made me pause. This list is in no particular order and I will elaborate on some and some speak for themselves. Some are amusing and some deep. Mind you my list was written on a few sheets from a list from a friend (Thanks Jamie) and my pen is still full on sand and I can’t click it back in. I am keeping the original lists as a reminder of what is important and tucking them away in my calendar, so as the year gets crazy I can reflect back to the moments at the beach.
1. When you get knocked down get back up for the next wave. Sam loves to “wrestle” the waves. They would knock him down and he would get right back up. He did not lay there and cry or complain or get frustrated. He stood back up ready to fight the next wave. How many times do I get knocked down that I sit and complain or whine or have self pity. Lesson learned – get knocked down – get back up – to keep fighting.
2. If you don’t get back up you will drown. The other danger of not getting back up is the waves will keep coming. They are not going to stop just because I am down. Just like life… It isn’t going to stop just because I need to have a pity party. Life goes on and I can choose to lay there getting crashed by the waves of self-pity and get deeper in over my head or get up! I can choose to drown in my mess because I don’t resolve to just get back up!
3. Never underestimate or undermine someone’s self-confidence. Shame on me for people watching and busting on people’s swim suits (okay except for the man in the speedos with flames – speedos are just WRONG). I am great about judging people in their suits because for some reason I believe you should be covered, especially if a certain size. And you can say that is prejudiced, but keep in mind I am a very large girl. In reality I should be impressed that they have the self confidence to wear that suit. That they truly don’t care what others think about them. Instead of me who wears something to cover as much as possible and generally all dark colors. This year Mary even wore a two piece suit, and as much as I wanted her to cover more (because she is 15 and beautiful), I was proud of her for having the confidence to do that. There would have been a day she would not have been that secure in who she is!
4. Don’t instill fear where fear does not exist. This is a tough one.. Every year at the beach I hold my breath as Sam goes in the waves and goes deeper and deeper without hesitation. This year I resolved to let my fear go because it didn’t exist in him. How many times do I stop my children and myself because of fear. How many things have we missed out on as a result? How many grey hairs did I add to my head. The other ironic thing is I say I trust God, BUT fear is a sign that I do not. This year on day one I watched as Sam mastered the waves with a smile – some he went under, some he went over, and some he let him full force. As a result of letting go of the fear I was able to watch in awe instead of fear and hands over my eyes (and missing the moment).
5. Don’t waste time on what is NOT important and/or can’t be changed – this especially includes worry. How many times do I worry about things instead of dropping them at God’s feet and letting them go. How many times do I sit in worry instead of getting up and doing something? At the beach I briefly starting thinking of things that were stewing in my mind, my to-do list, work issues, etc… and realized by worrying about those things I was robbing myself of that precious time with my family at the beach.
6. Don’t waste other people’s time – it is important too! I find myself getting people wrapped up in my trivial issues. Or to be very honest, wrapped up in my complaining, gossip, etc…. I am robbing them of important time.
7. If you are going to wear a suit – get wet. I use to be the parent who just sat at the beach and watched my children. I am the parent who often doesn’t even pack a suit at a hotel with a pool. Last year at the beach I was great at digging holes in the sand. This year I resolved I would be an active participant not just the picture taker (although I juggled both this year). Every day I was in the ocean, digging holes, and I even swam in the pool. I can get consumed with the fact that I am still fat.. consumed with what I want to do (I.e. read) or I can build memories (and holes and castles). My family knows my size and well no one else really matters (see #3)
8. Church is where ever God is! We routinely go to a physical church on Sunday mornings. However, my two Sundays sitting at the beach watching the waves just coming so far up the sand and stopping by HIS DESIGN, was like church in 3D! That time at the beach refreshed my soul and spirit. Hurricane Arthur developed while we were there and the night before warnings were out, the beach was cleared of many items, and I walked down to the water and took a video. The waves crashing one after another and stopping at my feet was magnificant. I met God at the beach… and need to work on meeting him more (like sitting on my porch listening to the birds) and not just the motion of Sunday mornings in a structure. Because to be honest, on Sunday mornings, my mind is not always willing / open to truly “experience church”.
Okay… I have many more things on my list, but many things to accomplish today… so part two lessons from the beach hopefully tomorrow!