I’ve spent the last few days alone at a lovely resort on Cape Cod. The townhouse where I’m staying was booked back in November as a birthday gift from my sister and her husband. Being a divorced mom, managing a chronic illness, working part-time and picking up freelance projects as I can get them doesn’t leave a lot in my budget. Five days anywhere is an incredible luxury for me but to stay here with a view of the water, a wall of glass doors with the sun streaming in every morning… It doesn’t get any better than that. Or does it?
Life has been crazy lately. Working in insurance as the healthcare deadline approaches has meant more and more stress and demands on me at work. Both kids, my mom and I all battled a brutal cold that meant several doctor’s visits and still isn’t completely gone. Snow days and sick days made my tight budget even tighter. And for some unknown reason my younger son got himself on an ‘almost late for school’ kick, because mornings aren’t stressful enough already?!
But it’s Lent so instead of blithely giving up my morning prayer time at the beach and hoping to ‘catch up’ the next day, I started going up to bed earlier. To be clear: early is 8:00. There are toddlers with later bedtimes than me. Be that as it may, I abandoned the nightly Homework Wars and managed to find time in the evenings to spend with God. Sounds great except by early evening, if I sit still for ten minutes, I’m asleep. But He already knows that and the effort to find the time is enough.
Five days alone to be quiet and still has been such a blessing. The Cape is fairly empty in March. I’ve been wandering up and down miles of ocean beaches and had them all to myself. The first full day I was here, I trekked up to Race Point Beach, as far north as I could go. There were a few cars in the lot but I never saw a soul. I walked for a couple miles and then did the one thing I just had to do. I went in the water. Yes. The North Atlantic. Yes in March. And I don’t mean I dipped my toes. I took off the boots and the wool socks, rolled my jeans to my knees, waded through the shallows and into the breakers. I just couldn’t NOT go in. It was too beautiful. To admire that water from a safe distance and not experience it would be a sin. And God, with His wonderful sense of humor, shifted the clouds just so and the sunlight broke through in the most beautiful rays and I took my eyes off the waves. I grew up in Jersey. I know better than that. But I looked away and the next wave that came in soaked me to mid-thigh and almost knocked me down. I managed to catch my balance and dragged my soggy self back to dry land just in time to save my boots which almost floated away. And suddenly I was very glad that beach was empty. I stood there with cold ocean water pouring out of my jeans, threw my head back and laughed harder than I have in a long time. I found a log about hundred yards away and sat down to dry out a little before walking the miles back to my car. The clouds started to break up and the sun made things a bit warmer. Every time I looked down at my soggy jeans I started giggling all over again.
Yesterday, I took the drive up to Head of the Meadows Beach in North Truro. It was a beautiful clear sunny day and I was somewhat shocked to find mine was the only car in the lot. The 35 mph winds kept everyone else away. Being a March baby, I love the wind, especially when I’m by the water. I headed up over the dunes in search of the shipwreck that can be seen at low tide. I found it almost immediately and being a history geek, I was thrilled. Even more so because the beach was swept clean by the wind. There were no footprints anywhere. Even my own disappeared within minutes. It was perfect and untouched. I didn’t walk very far. I found a spot in the sand and sat down enjoy the view. And yes, I went in the water, but only in the shallows this time. I walked back to where I’d left my boots and watched the tide slowly reclaim the wreck. All the while, the wind howled off the dunes behind me and I was getting sandblasted. Sheets of sand went sailing past me. And me, being me, thought that was the coolest thing ever.
I said I’ve spent the last few days alone. But really I haven’t. God and I have hung out together, like old friends catching up. Yeah, that’s new ground for me. I mean we spend time together but there’s a timetable and I make an effort to try to relax. Why that’s so hard for me, I don’t even know. But these last few days I can’t even say I let my guard down. If I had it up at all, it got swept out to sea with that first big cold wave at Race Point. See, as I sat there drying out and laughing over my chilly sogginess, God laughed with me. And as I sat at Head of the Meadows mesmerized by the incoming tide swallowing the old shipwreck, a quote from the Sufi poet Rumi kept echoing in my head:
“You are not just a drop in the ocean. You are the mighty ocean in the drop.”
And then came the whisper than finished the thought,
“I know because I made you that way and I love you. See what I see.”