Every time I open my laptop, the desktop background that greets me is the endless stretch of shimmering Atlantic waves that I captured during my last visit to Daytona Beach. Every day I take my toddlers for a stroller walk on a sunny day or go for a run in our neighborhood, I crave a day at the beach where no sirens wail and the only traffic is an occasional flock of squawking seagulls. Thoreau’s never been one of my literary heroes, but I think it would be good for the soul to have a temporary escape from the hurried pace of life to enjoy nature that’s practically at my doorstep. Considering I live in a place where multiple beaches line the coasts a mere hour away, you’d think I would go more often.
You’d think it would be a simple choice to hop in the car and head over some Saturday afternoon, heedless of any other plans for the sake of satisfying this natural summertime desire. As always, I think in analogies. (I can’t decide if it’s a blessing or a curse.) You’d think it wouldn’t be difficult to accept the gifts of beauty and good conversations and blessings that seem to be mine for the taking every single day. But it seems I go about with blinders on, impervious to the joy of the moment, so wrapped up in the possibility of a day at the beach or a dream job or whatever tomorrow holds. Elizabeth Elliot, wife of the missionary martyr, once said, “The life of faith is lived one day at a time, and it has to be lived – not always looked forward to as though the “real” living were around the next corner. It is today for which we are responsible. God still owns tomorrow.” I’m a chronic future tripper, and even my best efforts to live in the moment have been unable to replace my longing for the “real living” Elliot refers to.
But there seems to be a fine line between hoping for a leisurely day at the glistening waters and being discontent with the beauty of daily blessings. Human beings are hard-wired to long for and dream and hope because we’re immortal and there is another life beyond this one. And yet we’re supposed to live in the present. *sigh* One more mysterious balance of life I’m supposed to understand. In the meantime, I’m going to plan that beach trip, maybe several before summer is gone.