On a rare occasion that taking time off includes a warm beach, Bryan and I got some R&R recently. Thanks to a few connecting flights we found a lower latitude. Lyrical truth: “changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes.”
But not for all.
I set up our beach chairs 12 feet from the water, and 3 feet from a shade tree (I’m easy to burn lets just say!) early one morning. Just a few priceless days of beach-time for this mountain girl. Snacks in the cooler. A book to finish. Boat-load of sunscreen (note to self: 30 SPF is not high enough).
Then two couples showed up just after us and planted themselves almost directly in front of us (I then learned beach manors 101: do not set up in front of someone else, this isn’t a concert).
On top of that, they were bickering all morning about the wind. One couple walked the beach while the other couple argued about anything and everything. It was almost funny. But, no, actually sad. I wanted to say, “You’re in paradise, people! You’re spoiling this amazing memory by being upset for no reason!”
I’m not that brave. I didn’t leave my chair. I heard the woman say, “It’s only windy because we’re here.”
Well, thanks for the positive outlook.
Ironically, I was reading a commentary on 1st Timothy (or trying to, but honestly listening to every word from these couples). Paul went through a lot, and probably didn’t bask in the glorious sun on a beach much while planting churches and spreading the Gospel.
He did spend much undeserved time in prison, though, and yet his positive outlook is undeniable. I’m convinced it was because His eyes weren’t on the bars keeping him locked up. His eyes were set like flint on Christ. Determined to never break his gaze from the One who had a glorious future in mind for Paul, and each of us too.
Actually now I’m glad the couples planted their beach chairs in front of ours. I learned something that day in my eavesdropping (is that wrong?) that I’ll never forget. The question I need to be asking myself is…
Who am I looking to for peace and joy in this life? A perfect set up on a windless, sunny beach? A perfect spouse or set of friends to keep me feeling warm and fuzzy, a perfect you-fill-in-the-blank?
Paul found it. If we know Jesus, we’ve found it too. Sunscreen not required.