There is something very freeing about staying in a hotel. You check in. You check out. There are no permanent ties, no responsibility beyond paying the bill. Maybe this sounds weird, but visiting Florida this time was different. I haven’t been to Florida in eight years without either house-hunting, house-checking, or feeling like I should house-check the one visit I didn’t. And I fell head-over-heels in love with Florida, in part, because by God’s abundant grace, we sold our house there.
Plus, I got to visit the beach pictured above which is where my parents bought a condo when I was ten years old. My mom sold that condo when Nate was one. So you can imagine how much time I’ve spent there. My cousin Cassie and I have incredible memories from this beach. I’ve spent an unfathomable amount of time boogie boarding with my brother Craig in those waves. When I started dating Will, he fell in love with this beach too. He now makes the silly claim that he loves it more than I do! I’ve played for hours upon hours on this beach with my niece, Caitlin, and my nephew, Dane. The earliest beach pictures of both Will and Nate were taken here. Memories of all my family members flood through my mind on this beach. Many of them are gone, and my world is so different, and yet, oddly, the beach looks exactly the same.
Do you have a wonderfully storied spot in your life? A place where the fondest of memories flood like white-water rapids? C.S. Lewis wrote that, “A pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered” (Out of the Silent Planet). Lewis is dead-on, as usual, but there is something about this truth that I also find disheartening. Because I want to live in the moment. I want to embrace the pleasures in a full-grown way right as they happen. As Jim Elliot advised, “Wherever you are, be all there.” I want that to be me. I want to be gratefully all there.
Plus, James warned us not to count on tomorrow.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” — yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. (James 4: 13-14)
Wow. Sobering. Whether I’m doing laundry in Northern Virginia or gazing at this ocean in Florida, may the Lord help me to be a grateful mist.