Friday, August 15, 2014

Treasure Hunting: Conversations and Sand Dollars

During this treasure hunting vacation I did a great deal of watching and observing.  I saw God move and be present in the littlest and slightest situations and places. This seeing had so very little to do with me. I am significantly blind at times, failing to see what God is doing and orchestrating.
My blindness has little to do with the ability to see or perceive. My blindness is that my vision is so limited. So narrow. So restricted. So partial. So myopic (Thanks, Madeleine L’Engle. The abstract definition of Myopia is the lack of discernment or long-range perspective in thinking or planning).
Now, I want to get something very straight here before we go on. This is important to me. There are times I fear writing about something because it will seem I am implying perfection. Fear that I am presenting only the good—quite often I have been told I see only the good, and rarely the flaws. That I see only the pretty, and never the ugly. This is untrue. I see the flaws. I see the ugly. I just pray hard to see past them. To see beyond them.
I did NOTHING to deserve the beauty, whatever form it might take, in my life.
Anything that is of value is from his hand. Period.
One of the most beautiful parts of my life is my husband.
Often the greatest and most valuable treasures are closest to us and we fail to see. We overlook. We assume. We take for granted. We suffer from myopia.
But I can’t take these treasures for granted. They are too precious. They are gifts.
Steve is the quiet, tender, unassuming, gentle and steady giant in my life.
There were days on the beach when I did nothing but simply watch him.
And I fell deeply in love with him all over again.  
I observed this great big man sitting cross-legged on the sand with two little children building a sandcastle. Steve would design an elaborate castle and then laugh when the children would dump sand or pour water in the middle and erase all efforts.
I watched as he bent down to teach a little boy how to find and ride a wave in all the way to the beach.

During a fierce squall on the beach we all ran to shelter to avoid being pelted by the wind and the rain, but Steve went back to find Dave—to make sure he was ok.
There were other things:
His laugh.  
His hand on my back walking through a restaurant.
The brushing of our arms as we walked down the beach.

But there are two special moments I want to share with you.   

My love for the ocean and all things thereof is a little hard to miss.

In the evenings Steve and I strolled on the beach. During one of our jaunts at dusk the last of the sun’s rays beamed down on us and the water wrapped around our feet. I breathed in and my lungs stretched and my heart expanded.
Photo of Steve and Tamera courtesy of Melissa Darsey.

I looked up at him and asked, “What makes you happy like the ocean does me?”

I expected him to say the mountains. Or the castles of Germany (where he has visited). Or the bicycle paths on the beach of Santa Monica. Or building robots. But he didn’t say those things.

Without a moment’s hesitation he answered.

Being with you. Being where you are.”


I am quite aware that many who just read that response either awwwhhhed or rolled their eyes because they thought a whole lot of cheese just got put on the plate.


Either response is acceptable. Because the responses do not negate the sincerity.

It was the sincerity that caused my heart to constrict tight. Caused my nose to burn as I pulled in the tears that instantly pooled in my eyes. This is one of the many ways God uses Steve in my life: to render me speechless.
Speechless. I was speechless. I opened my mouth, but the words lodged in my throat somewhere down close to my heart. I couldn’t get them to exit. At first I thought this was a movie moment. Cue the music. The wind blowing. The long tender look. But we kept walking. One foot in front of the other. He squeezed my hand and I squeezed his.
The second thing I wanted to share?
When we arrived on the beach that first day we discovered that a great many people were pulling sand dollars from the silt of sand beneath the shallow waters in front of our condo.
On our way down to Florida I told Steve that some of the few things I wanted to find or buy during the trip were some very specific shells for our new bathroom and our front room.
White starfish. White clam shells. And white sand dollars.
That first day in the ocean, during the time I was struggling with my bathing suit, Steve seemed to be stationed in a small stretch. He didn’t gravitate toward me as usual. Didn’t play much, but was quite intent on a task. I got out of the water and went to the beach to sit for a while.
As I watched from the shade of my hand I realized what Steve was doing. He was searching for a sand dollar. Digging with his toes through the sand to find round disks buried deep, then diving. Head down—feet up.

He found one. A sand dollar.

And he brought it to me.
All that time he spent searching for a sand dollar for me (and perhaps, the challenge in finding one).
All that time spent to find something for me that was nothing more than a whim and an indulgence.
But that’s the way it is when someone loves you deeply.
They remember your little wish lists. They understand the gestures that help you feel secure. They are attune to your moods and your longings. There is an ever present intent to make you smile.
I studied that sand dollar. I looked at it. I looked at Steve.
Suddenly my vision broadened. No longer as narrow or partial.
I understood just a little more.
Father God, what makes you happy like the ocean makes me happy?
Being with you. You coming to me. This pleases me.
Here’s the sand dollar you have been looking for, Tamera. I found it for you. Brought it to you. Gave it to you. Why? Because I love you deeply. And I want you to know it. And I want you to proclaim it.
God will use whatever visual and picture he can to get our attention. To draw our eyes to him. To direct our attention to who he is.
To remind us of his promises.
To help us experience the lavishness of his grace. Of his gifts. Of his provision.
To help us understand how generous he is with it ALL.
Oh, that we would not remain myopically blind.











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