Today when my feet hit the sand and the waves ran over my toes, all was so familiar. For those of you who didn’t know, I grew up in Florida, not exactly where I am at the moment but a beach is a beach is a beach. Of course, I don’t ever remember wearing a sweatshirt, jeans and wool socks to the beach, but no matter, I’m here!
Much has been written about ‘place’ and how the ‘place’ you grew up influences, in part, who you become. My mother grew up in the mountains of east Tennessee and I remember vividly the look on her face when we as a family would return there for a visit. Without realizing it, she had a certain smile that only showed itself when that first mountain came into view. I didn’t understand it then, but I do now.
My connection to the ocean goes beyond just liking the beach. Was its God’s plan that His created people would form a bond to the parcel of earth in which they were formed? Was it God’s plan that that parcel of earth could and would call out to those folks from time to time? I have absolutely no learned knowledge that qualifies me to answer those two questions, but my heart tells me it is so. Whether it is a place as populated as Chicago or the isolated beauty of farmland in the plains, where you began, not necessarily where you were born, but rather where your awareness began, seeps into your marrow and nourishes and sustains even when you’re thousands of miles away. Sorry, I tend to wax nostalgic when I get near salt water.
Coming back to my ’place’ got me thinking about those folks in Ukraine who are being forced from their ‘place’, who are being run off of the place their foundations were formed. I weep when I think of the blood that stains the streets of Kyiv of those recently murdered in the place of their formation. I left my ‘place’ to go to college. I left my ‘place’ for love and adventure. No one ran me off (although I’m sure my dad breathed a sigh of relief when I found a husband). But most certainly no one threatened me from the barrel of a tank.
Here’s what I know for a fact when it comes to ‘place’. If something takes us from our place or if our place is destroyed, God’s got our back. In fact, He never planned for any of our places here on this ball of dirt and ocean to be permanent. These places, while formative, were/are simply a wayside stop. THE PLACE that is my true home still awaits me, awaits us all. I feel its tug and my toes yearn for heavenly shores.
Until then, for me the sand and waves here will do. For our brothers and sisters in Ukraine, I must remember that our God is the great God of exodus. Finding a new wayside for those He loves is one of the things in which He excels. We are in His Hands.
“Father, God, I thank you for the waysides you’ve given us all. They’ve sustained us, grown us and made us strong. I ask for your continued attention to detail for the people of Ukraine. If need be give them a new wayside in which to rest. Thank you for the Place You have prepared for us , for the home that will be like no other. In Jesus Name, amen.”