On my birthday last year, I sat on the beach watching the waves roll in and out across the white sands of Bermuda. I wanted go some place special for my birthday, and so I did. I have been divorced for over 20 years, and strangely, I don’t feel lonely. There is a difference between “lonely” and “alone.” I believe life is what you make it, and if we don’t learn to celebrate what’s good in our lives we humans can end up “lonely.”
I don’t have to worry about outrunning “lonely” when I know that I can never really be alone. Everyone who crosses my path, I consider to be some unique manifestation of God’s love. The Presence of God is always surrounding, enfolding, and indwelling me. I did not always feel this way. I had to put some time into developing this awareness – – it took practice, practice, and more practice spending time getting still and quiet enough to receive the love that was pouring into my life. Nowadays, there is so much help to get us spiritually in tune and out of the reactionary, emotionally hijacked states with which we might have been conditioned as we were coming along in our childhoods. For me, spiritual growth has come in many ways and not always in a straight-line progression all the time, but perhaps a curvy line.
So as I took my Bermuda birthday beach walk, I had time to sit and just look at the ocean and the sky. I looked out as far to the horizon as I could, and I felt swallowed up in the vastness of space. I felt so tiny. I felt like I had the whole beach to myself and loved every minute of it. Gratitude welled up in me as I reflected on all the decades of my life, each decade was a huge leap in the right direction with many turns and missteps along the way. But overall, forward progress.
Actually, I spotted about eight of us on the beach that day; I remember two couples and a couple of joggers, and me. And then…I spotted this bird, undaunted by my presence and unmoved by the waves. I watched the bird. The bird seemed very focused on looking for the tiniest bit of seafood in the sand. This led me to focus on God as Infinite Source of everything and Jesus’ words about considering the lilies of the field and how they neither toil nor spin. This bird seemed so unconcerned about the possibility of a wave splashing upon it, or about any joggers coming toward it. Just as a wave would roll in, the bird quickly hopped up just in the nick of time and never got close to being splashed by a wave. “Good instincts!” I thought. Then I thought again, “noooo, it’s more than that; when you know how to fly, you don’t WORRY about the waves!”
I think I’ll take a lesson from this little bird and rise up and live as if I have the whole beach of life to myself in joyful freedom and not be worried about the waves of drama, despair, or loneliness. Wow!…all this from a little birdie on the beach. I was in good company that day on the beach.