I need to feel sand under my feet. Grains so hot they almost sear my skin. With each footstep, I want sand moving between my toes while I hear the gentle roar of waves crashing against the shore.
But tonight I walked on asphalt. Mind you, walking in my neighborhood is a pleasure. Especially at night. I love the smells that permeate the air, and there are plenty after the hard rains we’ve had today. The scent of mud, someone’s laundry soap coming from a window, a dog’s wet fur – all these mix together as I move down the street. I listen to music on my headphones, but there are times I turn it off to hear the crickets, dogs barking, and the occasional car. Breathing is easier when I’m walking.
The thing is, I like to run, too. But the neighborhood is quite hilly, not like the level ground of a shoreline. I find myself running up hills and walking down them to keep my shins from hurting. And then, tonight, I started to run and pulled something in the back of my leg behind my knee. There are advantages to getting older, but the physical stuff is not much fun.
So as I pulled up and changed my pace back to a walk, all I could think about was that sand. My husband and I had a conversation today – as we often do – about moving to the beach. And tonight I would have packed up my things, set out for the beach, and never looked back. I dream of running every evening along the shore, salty air surrounding me, the sand an extension of my feet. I don’t think shin splints would plague me there.
The ocean is calling me to run on its shores, just as sure as God is calling me to a deeper relationship. And maybe they overlap just a bit. Perhaps the spirit that is a challenge for me to find in the everyday will be clearer in the mists floating off the water. Maybe the roar of the ocean waves will remind me of the majesty of my maker that I so often overlook while handling the many tasks of the day.
But until my feet touch the sand, I still have to live in the normal. And this is what I can do in the here-and-now. Remember, whatever ground my feet land on, that only by God’s grace am I able to walk at all. With each footstep, breathe in the spirit to my very core. And as I breathe out, I can whisper a prayer of thanksgiving for the blessings of today and the dreams of tomorrow.