I am totally convinced that when I finally go to Heaven, I will see Jesus for the first time as I walk along the beach with the waves curling and crashing and lapping my toes.
I did not grow up near the ocean, so I never really understood other people’s love of the sea. It was not until we moved to Costa Rica that I was first captivated by the sea. I remember our first day trip to the nearest beach, Jaco. You may have seen Jaco featured on International House Hunters or have heard of its reputation as a surfing destination. Well it IS a surfer beach, but it’s also gritty and polluted. It has fine black volcanic sand that turns to mud and gets ground into the fibers of your bathing suit. I have seen old diapers and broken bottles wash up on that beach. When the waves are rough (good for surfing) they churn up bands of broken shells and expose the lava rocks under the sand. The beach gets dangerous and rough. But when the tide is out and the waves are only swells, the expanse of black sand under our feet is soft and hot. Fringed with palm trees waving in the tropical breezes, the mountains to our backs and the ocean to our face, this looks like Paradise… especially if it’s January back in Minnesota.
We have since discovered more beautiful beaches in Costa Rica and we’ve interacted with a vast amount of wildlife attracted to these shores. We’ve scooped up live sand dollars, picked up star fish, had our snacks stolen by monkeys, spotted sloths in the trees, pointed out snakes coiled in the branches, marveled at Scarlet Macaws flying overhead, snapped photos of crocodiles lazing around the mouth of an estuary, discovered old skins of hatched sea turtle eggs, and spotted their knobby heads poking above the distant waves. We’ve watched Coatis demonstrate their agile raccoon-like dexterity, and been mesmerized with the swooping and diving of huge sea birds. We’ve collected crabs and clams and shells and rocks. I never get tired of the beach.
This is my happy place. I always try to take a walk alone for a half hour or so when I’m at the beach, because that’s when God talks to me most clearly. My mind empties of clutter and the only noises I hear are the wind and the waves. I find a stepping rhythm and I’m in “The Zone” for listening. I walk and we talk. It’s our time together. My soul is nourished and refreshed. I feel my shoulders unknot. My time, my soul time. This is my happy place.
I think. I think about the blurred boundary between life and death. It’s like the indistinguishable difference between sand and ocean. Who can tell when the beach stops being sand and starts being ocean? It’s like passing from life to death, natural and undefined. Some day I will take my final steps in this life and pass from sand to water, life to death. When my feet leave the beach, then I will be found. Jesus will find me, walking on some Heavenly shore. I will see him walking towards me from a distance. I will recognize him and he will know me. Jesus will find me, walking on the beach.