Yesterday my family and I went to a small beach in a recreation center. It was the perfect, sunny, warm day for it. I waded up to my waist in the water, watching the kids splash around. I tossed a football back and forth with them. Smiled as they wondered at the awe of a hovering dragonfly.
I felt the sun singing my shoulders, so I retreated to my chair on the shore. My husband had thought ahead, knowing how prone I am to turning into a lobster, and packed an umbrella from a water table we had when the kids were tiny. I stuck the thing in the sand, grateful for the shade and for my unopened copy of Go Set a Watchman.
That was until the wind picked up and turned my umbrella inside out.
I fixed it.
Then the wind whipped under it, trying to carry the darn thing away.
I grabbed hold of it.
It seemed every time I started reading my book the wind started causing problems and I had to stop and right my shade.
If it wasn’t that, it was a kid coming to ask for a snack (which I gladly provided…my kids are far better than a teasing wind). I’d close my book to watch them dig a trench in the sand or form mud balls or laugh at my son as he did what I call the Gollum
crawl (he doesn’t know who Gollum is, but does THE best impression of him).
When I wasn’t looking up from the book to retrieve my umbrella or smile at my family, I was utterly distracted by the people around me. Oh, the most interesting people show up at the beach on a Sunday morning. I mean, character worthy people. People who talk so that I can hear everything they say, not knowing that they might make it into a novel someday…
Let’s just say that by the end of our time at the beach, I’d read 3 pages.
And let’s also say that it was fine by me.
As much as I love to read, life happens around me. I need to be mindful and ready to pay attention to my kids and husband, to the wonder of creation, to the image bearers around me.
I can always read later.
Life doesn’t wait for me to finish a chapter.
There’s a story to be lived that can’t be found on a page.
Sometimes it’s found with sand in between toes, skin blushing in the sun, with a smile on the face because this story of mine – the one I live – is very, very good.