Wednesday, May 23, 2012

a prayer and a promise

after a long day of work that seemed to drag on for an eternity i finally got off work yesterday and headed home. i was disgustingly exhausted and planned on laying in bed all night. but when i got upstairs and was ready to fall face first onto my mattress i caught sight of cold tangerines; an amazing book ive been working my way through for a few months. i ran my hand over the smooth cover and let my fingers flip through the pages. i turned the book over and read the back paragraph for the hundredth time.

"I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don't want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that He gave life to someone who loves the gift." 

reading it this time was different for me. not because i had missed words before but because i had missed what the words meant. i read each word slow. i pronounced each syllable in my head and broke apart each sentence into pictures in my mind. and instantly i knew what i needed to do. i slipped on my swimsuit, draped a sundress over my skin, grabbed the book and went out the door. i drove the speed limit through town and cranked up the radio loud enough to drown out my sad attempt at singing country music. i made my way to the island and decided to go to a different beach then i am use to going to.
 it was about 6 o'clock and the sun was perfect. i laid out my towel and planted my booty in the sand. i sat with my eyes closed for a while feeling the wind, sand, and sun tickle and kiss my skin. i opened up cold tangerines and started reading.

i want to share two of the quotes i fell in love with.

"When what you see in front of you is so far outside of what you dreamed, the courage to call it beautiful instead of calling it wrong, that's celebration."

"Life sneaks up on us every once in a while and gives us something we didn't even know we wanted, and lights within us a love we didn't even know existed."

after reading a few chapters and underlining and highlighting too much i put my book away and sat in silence on the beach.
 i sat on a beach 2,500 miles away from home. in a town i never planned on visiting again after melting in it last summer. if you told me three months ago this is where i would be i never would have believed you. but God does some amazing things. trust me, i live in a daily awe of how amazing He can be. and i want to live a life of celebration of what i have. of what He has given me.

i walked to the water and let my feet sink deeper and deeper after each wave washed back to sea. i closed my eyes and i prayed hard. and not a prayer i am use to praying. but an honest to goodness prayer of thanks. of gratitude. that somehow in the midst of me making plans and mapping out how i think my life should go that God gave me the heart and sense to stop and listen to Him. i thanked Him for putting supportive people in my life, both here and back home, and for allowing me to find complete happiness in a place i never expected. i walked along the shore for a long while, stopping to play in the water every once and a while, and sang old worship songs to myself that i remembered my mom singing in the mornings when she was happy.
 finally, i walked back to my towel and laid down facing the sunset. a couple was cuddling a few feet away from me and handsome men jogged the beach in just the right amount of clothing. somehow, almost out of the blue, a huge rush of insecurity came over me. i sat up and used part of the towel to hide my body and felt the joy i had in my heart start to dwindle away. i looked down at the sand and saw a piece of a tiny white shell. you can tell it had lost the other half and was so small that there's no wonder it made its way all the way up the beach. and as i turned the shell over in my hand i swear to you i heard, "this is you. you are beautiful and delicate just like this shell." i turned it over and over and rubbed my finger across the rougher edges. i thought to myself, "this shell is broken though. its torn into two. the edges are jagged and its so ugly" and just as i said that i saw something out of the corner of my eye. i scooped up a big handful of sand and let the tiny white grains fall through my fingers until all that was left was another small, half of a white shell. this one was smoother and the edges weren't jagged. i put together the two shells i now had in my hand and they fit perfectly. like they were made for each other. i heard again, "you might be broken now but I will make smooth out your jagged pieces.  but you are beautiful and I will make you whole."

i kissed the shells in my hand and slipped them into my pocket. with tears in my eyes i made a promise. i promised that i will try to treat myself and my heart like i did those shells. delicately. softly. and like they are a treasure. and i promised to work at seeing myself as beautiful. i realize that when i look around at what everyone else had whether its a thin body, boyfriend, or perfect smile i start to feel horrible about myself. but when i am focusing on me, on the woman i want God to shape me into, i feel radiant. and i guess that's what those shells showed me. if i focus on the imperfections of the first shell then that's all i will become. imperfect. jagged. broken. but if i have faith that one day i can be like the other piece then one day He will make me whole. and i will see the beauty. and i will be smooth and i will beautiful.

No comments:

Post a Comment