The sand was hot and the air was thick and heavy for a November day at the beach. Wednesday afternoon, and I was practically all alone. Finally. After weeks of craving time alone at the ocean, here it was. Me. And God. We have a lot of talking to do. Here on the same beach where Mom experienced her last ocean visit just over a year ago, as she recovered from her latest treatment to stem her cancer pain. Just one more battle in the war that ended three months ago.
I was also on the hunt to add to my sand dollar collection I started that week, 16 months ago, while I ran on the beach to escape the pain of a terminally ill mother and a husband recovering from open heart surgery. I found the perfect souvenir as soon as I reached the hard-pack sand; at least I thought I had. When I picked up the small treasure, I discovered the sand dollar only looked whole.
While the top layer was intact, the entire underneath portion was gone. Turning the “half dollar” over in my hand, I thought, How appropriate. This is me! From the outside, I look whole. At least I think I do. One foot in front of the other. In exactly the places you would expect to find me: at my desk, at my Rotary meetings, at Zack’s cross country meets, running with my friends in the morning. But, like my sand dollar, I am really broken and just a shell of myself. Exposed…nerves and emotions raw, tender. Exposed. Such is the life of a grieving daughter. Which, of course, is exactly what brought me to the ocean in the first place. Begging it to soothe my soul, to drown my cries. I thought I wanted to talk to God. Maybe I just need to be still and listen.
I will try.