Whenever we are at the beach, I think of the book written by Anne Morrow Lindberg which I read in my 40’s, titled “Gift from the Sea”.
The book touched me in the way she described staying in a house by the sea as she wrote stories about the different types of sea shells and wove them into a story about her life, each chapter a different shell. I could feel the sea spray on my face and the warm sun on my skin as I followed her story, and I wondered what it must have been like for her to be wealthy enough to follow her heart anywhere she wanted to go! Since my reality was much different than hers, I followed HER thoughts in her writings and found myself enjoying the imaginary life.
Imagine owning a house by the sea where the sound of crashing waves is a daily occurance. Imagine also, walking a beach that runs along your very own beach house where you are often greeted by tiny little flocks of Sandpipers dancing at your feet as they run toward the waves to see what meal the ocean has brought to them! Imagine watching the seagulls riding the wind currents dipping and soaring before they land. Think of listening to them sqwack with enjoyment of their airy ride. Can’t you just see the sunlight glinting like diamonds off the surface of the water? Oh my! Now all this just has to be as close to living in heaven as it gets!
Today, we are at Mira Mar beach in Florida and have rented two chairs and a large beach umbrella. Hubby has gone for a walk, clad in protection from the sun with a long sleeved “coolaray” shirt that has a UV protection of 50. Oh, and he is wearing a big rimmed hat as well. This is the price we pay for all the years we played in the sun with very little protection. Our skin is fragile now and we pay frequent visits to the dermatologist.
MY “bathing suit” consists of a pair of knee length stretchy capris and a short sleeved, v neck, pull over top. I don’t lay in the sun anymore and where I do happen to get tan is sufficient for the type of clothes I wear these days anyway! The thing is, at this age no one gives us a second look anymore. in fact a first look is actually a glance and then we are dismissed. Old is not a thing of beauty. At least not by visual standards.
As I sit here under the big umbrella, I watch a big group of young teen boys diving in the rolling waves, unbothered by the still cool temperature of the water! They are also throwing a foot ball back and forth along the beach next to the water and are making a lot of noise in their enjoyment of this stretch of beach, which I am enjoying too.
For the record, I like being old. I like the absence of a need to impress. It simply does not matter what we look like anymore…well, of course, one needs to be clean and well groomed, but all the fussing over appearance is long gone. Our houses, cars, clothes, recreation toys, do not matter at all! Why, because you realize they never did matter all that much to anyone else but yourself! When you recede into the background like many aged people do, you feel a sense of freedom. If no one is watching, then who even cares?
Being old is a bit like being a middle child which is what I was growing up. The oldest child gets a lot of attention because they are the first at everything from the parents experience and generally excell at all things they do. The youngest gets a lot of attention as well because they are the “baby” of the family and everything they do is “so cute” “darling” and so on. Being the middle child, in my experience, was a bit like being invisible and I mean this in the most positive of ways. I wasn’t pressured by other peoples assessment of me because I was rarely the focus. This left me to live large in my imagination and through the imagination of others by reading their books and stories. I was always reading, always, whether it was a book, a magazine or a cereal box.
I still read a lot and I am forever researching about things I don’t know about or understand. I learned how to be invisible long, long ago and I am comfortable with it, so old age is comfortable to me now where I come and go without the slightest bit of attention directed at me. I neither crave it nor need the attention.
I like to write my thoughts…not sure why because I don’t think these thoughts hold value to anyone else but me…well my husband likes my writings, and so does my daughter. She is a big fan of her Mother (and Father) and on a daily basis lets us feel her love in phone calls.
Writing, for me, is a form of prayer expressing appreciation for all good things in my life. I am sometimes overwhelmed by the bounty of Gods gifts. They are there for the taking…the sun, the sea, the mountains, valleys, rivers, streams, even the beauty of bountiful snow.
Even life’s challenges are gifts from God, for this is where we learn and grow! In the midst of the happy times, I have had some pretty difficult lessons that tested me big time. While they were painful at the time, looking back I could see where the incident refined me into a better person. My empathetic nature grew with every single hurt I felt, every challenge I faced, and every moment of aloneness or rejection I endured. Had I not been through the various refining fires of life, I could not possibly understand another person’s pain or heartache.
Thinking of God and his creation reminds me of a child’s song of prayer learned long ago….
“Oh the Lord is good to me,
and so I thank the Lord,
for giving me the things I need,
the sun and the rain and the apple seed,
Oh the Lord is good to me!
Amen! Amen! Amen,amen,amen, aaaaaaamen! Praise the Lord!
Well, the day is calling me to go for a walk along the beach so I shall close.
May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
May the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace!