Erasing the Beach

Good Harbor Beach (courtesy of Gull Cove House)

Walking on Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, Massachusetts on Friday evening we were amazed at the patterns in the sand. The tide was low yielding an expansive sandy beach that stretched far down to the ocean. An area of the ocean had separated, causing a dry 12 foot wide strip of land that stretched from the main beach clear across to a small island, thick with vegetation. In high tide, this piece of beach is always covered and it is impossible to reach the island by foot. During low tide it felt like the parting of the red sea but without the Egyptian army rapidly approaching.

The patterns were everything from ripples where waves had splashed to dips and marks from sea gulls running toward the ocean before taking flight.

We walked closer to the water and saw waves come up and change the patterns in one swift motion. “It’s like they’re erasing the beach” my husband said in awe. And it was.

With every motion, what had been a pattern just a moment ago was erased and something new and entirely different emerged. The markings became either more or less distinct creating a new palette for the artist.

That’s what the beach is like. It’s never the same. Every day it gets to start over. Where a sandcastle was the day before there is a smooth mound of damp sand. In areas where people’s feet had created imprints on the sand, there is no evidence of activity. Only smooth sand ready for today’s footprints.

As I thought about this I realized how illustrative it is as a picture of a redemptive God. A God where all of life is new every morning, the hurts and pains washed away in a wave, and the sandcastle dreams swept away to be rebuilt or released. Where my life is not stuck in today’s mistakes, but erased the way waves erase the beach.