At sunrise, everything is new, un-invaded, unburdened and just- free.
As difficult as it was to rise at 5:30 a.m. while on vacation? I felt it was not a choice. I had to awaken before the dawning of the new day, if I slumbered, it would be lost. Yes, there would no doubt be another for the next day- but it wouldn’t be the same as this particular sunrise. So, I made my way through the darkened room, leaving quietly as if on some secret mission, setting out alone. I am selfish in this moment as if it is going to appear only for me.
I see the haze from around the bend, I know it is there on the edge of the horizon and I anticipate its arrival. At sunrise, everything has a new beginning….this morning, I know that mine is there too.
Why is it that the sea brings me so much respite, the dawn of a new day? It is almost as if I spend the entire year making this journey to the tide, the place where I speak from my soul, no use for the words under my breath. It has been this way for me since my first sight of the sand at the age of sixteen. I continue to see it as a new beginning, one that only comes at sunrise.
The first few steps onto the strand are always the same. I no longer notice the people on the same walk, perhaps they are here for the same reason? They seem to have no need for words, only nods as they pass by me. It is here I begin my ritual. I sense the Creator’s hand painting the first hue, adding flares of light, until I have to still. I watch in silence as the sunrise slowing becomes more visible. Here, it doesn’t matter about past tense, future tense.. only now, this quiet moment that turns my soul to quiet reflection. It has the same effect, no matter how many times I make this journey. Time does not exist in this moment, only the view of the sunrise and my urge to walk towards it … I walk until my mind is focused only on what I came for..reflecting. I begin to count my blessings, knowing that in a very short time I will be reduced to tears, humbled by the fact that they are not earned but gifted through the Creator’s grace. The next step of this sought out journey begins – the first stone glistens from the light and I solemnly bend to pick it up, washing it in the tide.
I reflect with each stone, each journey will hold its own number, until I have completed this walk. It is a time for my soul to speak, one on one with God. It is here, at sunrise, with no reservations that I continue towards the fiery glow. There will be time, endless time, that I am alloted for this moment.
The stones will represent not only my thoughts, but my wishes, dreams, hopes for those I love. Some stones will be gathered with grace for those I don’t. It’s okay here to admit these also. There is nothing hidden from Him on this journey. I am in my own sense of soul bearing freedom, the way I should be any ordinary day, but here it is different. I am small, the least of anything….against the background of His vast creation.
My hand becomes filled with the tiny round stones until I realize the purpose of some of them are not for me to keep. They are the things that weigh me down, my worries, the things I hold onto but cannot change. I petition for change, I hold onto them with a tight grip in my hand until I feel their heaviness. I want to fix them, turn them into good stones, but I know I cannot continue to keep these- they are not treasures, only things beyond my control. I stop to wipe my tears, and I make the decision to toss them..as far as I can into the sea, disappearing into the deep. This is the difficult part of the walk…but the most needed at times. It is renewal.
It is time for me to reluctantly turn away from the sunrise and begin the walk back, this time I feel lighter, warming from the sun rising on the back of my neck. The new day is here, it will not wait. One can learn much from this walk at sunrise. I will do it all again on another day, not that I am incapable of learning from the first walk, but each new day brings its own heaviness, its own gifts and thankfully, a new portion of grace.
I make my way up from the sandy beach, the tide is going out and I am left with the stones remaining in my pocket, my treasures, the reminders of my favorite things, hope, joy and most of all love….they are the only ones that are kept today.
I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone.”Genesis 35:2-4