Monday, October 15, 2012


We were offered a gift, a free weekend at a beach house, so we packed up some friends, a couple of coolers, that pile of books waiting to be read, and we headed off toward the sea.

Yesterday we decide we need to be there, on that beach, for the sunrise. I can barely sleep, I keep waking up, afraid I'll miss it, excited for the dawn. And I know this must be vacation, this eagerness for daylight, all my normal alarm clock-induced dread gone.

So Todd and I sit in the dark, wrapped in a blanket, our feet burrowed in the sand trying to keep warm. We watch the waves come in, constant and faithful, predicting which one will make it the farthest up the shore. As the sky lightens we read Walter Brueggemann prayers out loud and Hosea and talk about the hormonal God we serve and how to love God with our bodies, if toes in the sand can be an act of worship.

It's pretty light out now and this man I call mine, cold despite being huddled up next to me, says "alright, where is this sun?" I tell him I think it's already up, hidden behind the clouds on the horizon. It's beautiful, yes, and I've resigned myself, almost unconsciously, to this less-than-dazzlingly display, sure that the clouds and the haze are preventing something grander. I had hoped for glory, bright rays of pink and orange and yellow reflecting off the water, but I told myself this was good enough, I didn't want any more.

And then, a few minutes later, this:

A few more minutes go by and then this:

And I hear, clear as this day waking up right before my eyes: those who hope in me will not be disappointed. (Isaiah 49:23)

I have to get up. I want to dance. I run to the water, we play in the waves, holding tight to each other as the water races back to the sea. I literally want to break into a jig on this empty beach for the joy of it.

The heartsickness from hope deferred is miserable. I am unconvinced that there are sadder words in English than "I had hoped." But hope is not optional for me. I am called to hope. And I will choose to dance like a fool at the edge of the water with the joy that my ultimate hope will not be disappointed. I am so grateful that when I'm tempted to resign myself to a God who is just good enough, the sun leaps up from its hiding place below the horizon and I hear:

Oh honey, you have no idea.

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