This is What the Future Feels Like

Long Beach, New York

I took Monday off to go to the beach.

Yes, you West Coast and Aussie sand snobs, we have beaches in New York. And yes, it was cold. And yes, I loved every minute.

I live in a city of more than 8 million people. I’ve learned how to find “quiet” moments to reflect, think, pray just about anywhere, but the problem about those moments of relative stillness is their relativity. Sometimes you just need a beach in winter.

Long Beach is New York City’s most accessible beach, just about an hour by train from the city. I went with a friend; we sat in silent camaraderie, reading and staring off at the waves, joined on the beach only by a few fishermen and the occasional jogger. I don’t remember the last time I experienced that kind of quiet.

Later in the afternoon, after warming up with tea in the lobby of a hotel we couldn’t possibly afford, I took a walk alone to watch the sunset.

I took this photo as I stepped off the boardwalk and into the sand and have been staring at it all week. In that moment of stepping out, it was like Peace just washed over me, picked me up, and threw me over his shoulder. I get the sense that he can carry me around on his back everyday, but I find it hard to remember to hop on sometimes.

I walked for a while, snapped photos with my BlackBerry, mentally composed what I’d say in this blog entry—basically, kept my mind busy even though I claimed I was seeking quiet. Finally, I sat down on a rock, closed my eyes, and listened to the waves crashing up against the rocks. Why is it so hard for me to slow down and just listen sometimes? I suppose I’m a product of my city-that-never-sleeps environment.

I love the beach because it feels like everything that would drag me down is behind me and everything that’s mysterious, unknown, unseeable is ahead. I call it my “at the edge of the world” feeling, staring out at the ocean. I know there’s something on the other side, but I can’t see that far. Quite a lot like my life, especially over the last year.

Sitting on that rock looking out into nothingness, I felt OK with that. Peace in the not knowing, because I do know that there’s something out there. And I trust that it’s good.

I realized a lot of other things on the beach that day, too, but I’m not yet ready to verbalize them here, to you. For now, I’m sticking with the peace. When I start to forget, I want to look back at this photo, and hop on up for a piggyback ride into the future.


2 Responses to “This is What the Future Feels Like”

  1. 1 Jeff Crabtree 23 October 2010 at 13:51

    I feel the same way at the ocean. We pray in Manly overlooking the Blue Pacific every day we can. 🙂

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