Of all the places in the world, the beach is the one place that can make you feel the most insignificant.
While walking down the beach that thought just hit me. I knew I had been thinking of what exactly the tension was, but I could not place my finger on it until that moment of brief epiphany. I tried to search for a more accurate word to describe the inward struggle, but that was the only word that kept coming to mind.
Insignificant for two reasons:
The first is felt because of just the overwhelming amount of people that line the sand day in and day out. Each new day yields another crop of pasty human beings waiting to be transformed by the sun’s rays into the Hollywood, picturesque golden brown. You do not have to look far to see the vast amount of beautiful people that spread the width of the sand. Girls wearing bikinis that cover less and less skin. Guys with chiseled muscles donning the next designer pair of sunglasses. It can be one of the most intimidating situations if you think about it. Without even knowing, you are immediately put in a category the minute you put your towel down and unfold your chair. Eyes lurk behind polarized sunglasses, looking you up and down, gauging you, analyzing your threat level. Are you going to be vie for the attention of the two friends laughing and walking in front of your spot, or are you just another beach-goer buried in the sand? Eyes wander and size you up. I know this is true because I do the same. Maybe not out of the same spite or desire, but I still try to read people. So if you are like me, you do it too.
Adding to the fact the innumerable couples and the beach can appear to be a lonely place. One that only highlights the insecurities, imperfections, and loneliness you could have easily found in your own home on a Friday night 300 miles away. Insignificance follows you like a shadow with every sand-trodden step further toward the surf. Insignificance begins to pull you under like a rip-tide current as you thrash and wave, screaming for help while you are swiftly washed out to unknown waters.
But that’s not the only insignificance.
Have you ever walked the shore and realized how far the coastline continues? It seems as though no matter how many steps I take, the sand continues to extend further and further. I’ll pick a point in the distance and tread to my destination only to discover that there are a million more colorful umbrellas or waving flags on the other side.
Have you ever stood where the wave break and gazed to the end of the horizon? You feel the crisp waters surround your ankles, caressing them with white foam before receding to undisclosed location. You hear the crashing of the waves like a melody of cymbals continuing to compliment errant burst of seagulls screaming and children laughing.
Have you ever sat on a balcony and breathed in the salty, summer breeze as you gaze into the blackness that is the night sky? You feel the gentle breeze as it calmly passes over the sand dunes to tickle your hair as it were the leaves of a tree. You hear the muffled sounds of crickets chirping; they are playing the lullaby of the midnight call, hypnotizing you as you fade into a peaceful slumber.
These are the things that make you feel insignificant. The utter beauty that surrounds you at any given moment. The grandeur of God’s creation. Seemingly limitless, yet unmistakably simple. The vast spaces of water, sand, people, and life that steal your breath away reveal that glory that God intended us to see.
To think that God thinks of me more than the grains of sand on the beach; to think that God knows every star by name and put it in its place; to know that God commanded the waters to go so far and they obey.