Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Beach

I was scanning the isles of the local grocery store when he approached me. He looked to be about 14 or 15 years old. His shaggy hair escaped from the baseball cap that tried to hold it in place. In one hand he carried a skateboard; in the other, a can of Pepsi.

"You're not gonna find it on this isle," he informed me with a knowing smile.

"How do you know?" I asked him.

He grinned a sloppy grin. "Because I'm God. I know everything."

Damn it. I'd forgotten that.

Folding my arms across my chest like a disgruntled toddler, I huffed. "Fine. Where does this store keep the Oreos?"

"Isle three."

I stomped my way over to the isle that held my favorite snack. God skipped behind me, chomping on a piece of gum. The mom in me wanted so desperately to admonish Him for smacking. But, I held back. I wasn't sure if God would mind being scolded, and I wasn't in the mood to find out.

I found the sweets that I was looking for. Of course they were right where He said they would be. Grabbing the bag, I looked up at Him. I half expected to find Him gone. Vanished back into the atmosphere. As it was, He stood there with that grin. Smacking the gum I was trying so hard not to snatch out of His head.

"So....." I sighed. "Anything else you need besides a pepsi?"

Laughing, He said no. Then His face got serious. "You know we need to talk. Right?"

I tossed the Oreos back on the shelf. I had the sudden feeling after my chat with God, I would need something a little stiffer than a cookie to calm my nerves.

Something like a bottle of Tequila.

After paying for His drink, we headed out to the beach. We walked along the shore for a while. I watched as the waves crashed inward, settling a few feet from our bare toes, then retreating back into the sea. Seagulls landed around us. The sun bathed us in its warmth, fighting off the cold air that kept the other beach goers huddled up inside their winter coats. Children played nearby. Laughing and building sand castles, they seemed oblivious to the cold. Occasionally a child would run up to God and smile brightly. It was as if their innocence allowed them to see Him; while the adults, with their jaded minds, refused to believe He walked among them.

"I'm finding it hard to talk to you when you look like my nephew." I told him. I was greeted with a husky laugh. I looked to my left to see a grown man where the young, teenage boy stood a few seconds before.

The shaggy hair was gone. Now he sported black hair salted with a hint of grey. He wore laugh lines around his eyes and mouth. A faint beard grew that complimented His brown eyes perfectedly. He stood six feel tall, with broad shoulders. He had the faintest hint of a belly poking through his long sleeve shirt. His legs were thick, like he climbed steps everyday. On what was once bare feet, God wore boots.

God makes for a handsome man.

"Better?" He asked. Unable to swallow past the lump that had formed in my throat, I nodded yes. Smiling, He took my hand and we procceded to walk along the beach.

"How are things these days?" He inquired.

"Seriously? You know how things are? Why ask?"

He shook His head at me. "Ya'll don't get it. Well, some do. But, most of ya'll don't. I know what goes on in your lives just like you know what's going on in your child's life. I see all of it. I see your thoughts. I hear your desperation. I smell your fear. I know when you are sad and when your at a loss for words. But, you bind my hands when you don't come to me with anything."

"How can we bind your hands when you're all powerful? All knowing. Why do you wait for me, for us, to come to you? Why not come to us? You are God. We are just people. You have the power. We are here, trapped in these bodies that have a shelf life. These weak bodies that limit our power, our joy, our spirits. How can we measure up to you, when we are so limited in what we can do? You tell us you mad us in your image; but, you didn't make us to be like you. We do not have the capacity, or the resources to handle things like you do." I stopped. The walk was wearing me down. The flood gates had opened and my thoughts were spilling forth with energy greater than any tsuanmi. I was tired of day to day life.

"You made me so strong," I told Him. "But, sometimes I wish you hadn't. I wish I was the type of woman who couldn't handle things on her own. I wish I needed a man beside me, day in and day out, to take care of the responsibility of it all. I know you say you won't ever give me anything that is too heavy for me to carry. While that is true, I wish it weren't. The burdens that you give me to carry, would make any other person buckle at the knees. However, I trudge on. Day after day, I carry the load you see fit to give me. And at the end of the journey, under the weight of life, past and present, I stand. I may be hunched over, but I'm still standing. Why is that? Why do you trust me so much?"

At this point, I am exhausted. I sit down in the cold sand. The water flows in and surrounds me on all sides. He sits down beside me. Cradeling me with one arm, He waves His other hand towards the ocean in front of us.

"What do you see," He asks me.

"The ocean."

He shakes His head. "What do you see?"

I sigh and look to Him. "You. The vastness of the ocean shows me you. The waves come in and take part of the shore with them. But, in doing so, the waves leave a reminder of their existance." I look to Him to see if this is what He meant.

He nodds and tells me to continue. "I left home because I was becoming burdened by the routine of life. I stopped seeing the purpose of working everyday without ever getting ahead. Why come home and fold laundry and keep a clean house when the kids are just going to destroy it all over again? It's not the big problems of life that get me down. I expect things to go wrong. But, it's the little things that my heart heavy. And how can that be? How can something so big take a big chunk out of your life; but hurt less than a bee sting?"

I begin to relax into His arm. I feel His embrace pull me closer to Him. Finally, He cradles me in His arms. I inhale the scent of God. In my mind, He smells like coffee and chocolate chip cookies. I breathed Him in.

"I forget that you're there. The ocean reminded me of that. The ocean told me that you created it. In its vastness, it's infinite power, it turns into a a small wave on the beach. The ocean can create a tidal wave so big, that it devastates countries. On this shore, it is nothing more that a small stream of water that tickles the toes....that children can play in. But, you control it all."

"Why did it take you comming here to figure that out? Why can you not see me in your life? I'm everywhere. Your daughter holds you tight at night during prayers. That's me hodling you and loving you for saying the prayer I gave you. Your son makes you laugh even when you're too tired to breathe. That's me letting you know that it's ok to relax. When are you gonna learn?"

I lean forward and kiss God's cheek.  I feel His stubble under my lips as He forms a smile.

"Thank you." I whisper.

"You're welcome, my child."

"Can you stay for awhile?" I ask with a child like need.

"I can stay for an eternity."

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