*note: I wrote the following piece this past Spring on my first beach walk after winter.
My little girls and I emerged from the wooded path and stepped onto the beach, the first time our feet had touched sand in months. How good it was to take great, gulping breaths of the cool, salty air. The sea gulls were right where we’d left them in August, swooping and circling against the blue sky, floating and bobbing on the frigid waves, and making track-mazes with their three-pronged feet.
I stood for a moment, as I always do, letting my eyes graze on the vastness of the sea, seeing whether the hue leaned more toward charcoal or cobalt, and what mood the waves were in—playful, sleepy, rolling or raging. Then my gaze traveled to the beach itself.
“Mommy, these rocks weren’t here before,” Cassidy said.
I frowned. “No, they weren’t.”
I remembered vividly our many walks to this end of the beach last summer. There were only two, or maybe three large rocks protruding from the sand that we would climb over. Now, dozens of rocks littered the beach. But these were big rocks. Far too big to be blown here by the wind or tossed up on the beach, even by the most muscular of waves. Stones the size of washing machines, sofas, cars.
On further inspection, I realized what had happened. The ocean got hungry. Deprived of its summertime, daily ration of swimmers, it had gone cannibalistic, turning on the neighboring sand, eating away at it until it had consumed great scoops. From one end of the smiling coastline to the other, the bites it had taken were visible. These mysterious rocks were not new, but old ones previously concealed by sand. The rocks I remembered were still there, only much bigger, their bases showing like the roots of teeth exposed by a receding gum line.
I thought how funny it was that I’d walked over so many of these rocks, year after year, not knowing they lay beneath the sand. For thirty-five years, I’ve walked this beach, collected its shells, and swam in its water. It is my beach, and I thought I knew its every nook and cranny. I thought I knew it. But I didn’t know about those rocks.
There is so much we cannot see, and in our arrogance, or perhaps ignorance, we assume if we can’t see it, it isn’t there. I need to remind myself that there is much I do not know. God is doing things I know nothing about, maybe using me in ways I can’t see, healing parts of me I don’t know need healing, exposing sins I didn’t know I committed, and doing innumerable things I couldn’t begin to imagine.
Isaiah 55:99 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.