We are in Oregon visiting Jesse and Holly and Aiden Redemption! He’s a sweet little bean of a human being. Adorable. I hold him up next to my heart and ask God to help him sense how deeply I love him and how grateful I am to God for him. After spending a little time with Holly and Aiden Redemption, I have a promise to keep to myself.
I get in Holly’s car and open the sunroof so the sun warms my head. I drive less than a mile to Del Ray Beach. The site of the ocean takes my breath away… It’s a blustery day and the surf is crashing over and over again into the sand.
This is the Pacific Ocean. This mid-western boy is about to walk along the Pacific Ocean. It’s intoxicating stuff. I breathe deep. The air is cool. It’s windy here. The sky is mostly blue—not enough clouds to interfere with the mid-afternoon sun.
For long stretch of beach I’m almost the only person in sight. Down the beach comes a couple playing with our their dog. A little farther a family is sitting quietly looking out toward the ocean. They will be here for a while. The back of their SUV is stacked with wood for a beach fire later when the evening cools into the low fifties and the sun grows large along the watery horizon.
One family has a special appliance to throw a tennis ball out where the water runs up the beach. Their Beagle joyfully runs after it, ears flopping. Something about the sight makes me laugh and the Beagle comes over to meet me like an old friend.
Two young boys are flying a colorful kite. It’s impressive to watch. A young woman jogs past. Then another middle-aged man greats me as he walks by. We agree it’s a perfect day. Cars, trucks, SUV’s are buzzing down the beach.
A black Jeep comes trucking towards me. The sun roof is open. Three kids are on top of the car. There are a couple teen-aged girls and a guy up there. As the Jeep passes the guy is doing push-ups all the way by with perfect form. I pass a middle-aged couple walking their dog… He turns, smiles broadly and says exactly what I am thinking; “Oh, to be young again, doing push-ups on top of your Dad’s car to impress your girlfriend.” We laugh–two strangers enjoying a mutual understanding for just a few seconds–I stride on up the beach.
I walk along on the wonderful place where the sand is wet and hard just at the margin where the water meets the sand. Ahead in the distance a mountain rises out of the ocean in the mist. A couple hundred yards to the east a bank covered with green sawgrass rises and runs the length of the beach for miles.
Gulls swoop down out of the wind and fly along just over the surf. Some land and hop along in the shallow water.
I walk for a half-hour before I turn and make my way back. I take off my flip-flops to feel the earth beneath my feet. My heart is glad here. I know a visit like this is a rare thing. I’ve flown here over 1500 miles in a few short hours in a comfortable seat, watching a movie and drinking ginger ale and now I’m walking along the Pacific Ocean with bare feet. It’s a worship experience.
Thank you, Lord. Thank you for Lois, who brought Holly into this world. Thank you for Holly who bravely came near death a little over a week ago to give her Jesse a boy. Thank you for that little boy. He’s perfect to behold—little fingers and toes and a perfectly-formed little nose—dark eyes that look right at yours when they are opened and a dark head of hair that follows the sound of his mother’s voice.
God, please never let my heart grow hard to the miracle of a walk along the ocean, a faithful wife, a daughter who has become a mother, a baby’s coo, the pride of a young man becoming a father for the first time.
August 8, 2106