Sand Castles

How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more in number than the sand. When I wake up, I am still with you. (Psalms 139:17 18 WEB)

I learned to swim when I was in Kindergarten. My family was living in New Orleans at the time. Three sailors living in the apartment complex where we lived took it upon themselves to teach my brothers and me this vital necessity of life. I remember my first lesson vividly.

Standing beside the kidney shaped pool they told me to hold my breath and move my arms and legs. I nodded as I looked up at their husky faces. In one swift motion they grabbed my arms and legs and tossed me high in the air. I summarily plopped me in the middle of the deep end of the pool.

I had followed their instructions to the letter. As my head slid beneath the waves I held my breath and furiously waved my arms and legs. I looked great! There I was, lying on the bottom of the pool executing what I thought was a perfect stroke. After a few seconds my instructors dove into the pool grabbed under my arms and whisked me up to the side where I sputtered and spit chlorine from my lungs.

One fellow asked, “Are you OK?” Unthinking I gasped, “Sure!” Before I knew what was happening I was pulled from the water and again tossed into the air to plop once more into the pool. This routine was repeated over and over until I eventually learned to swim.

Once I had learned to swim, I discovered the beach. Playing in the rolling waves was lots of fun. Years later I was living on Guam where we had plenty of beaches. There were plenty of chances to swim and also plenty of sand. The only problem with the beaches was the sand. It was everywhere.

Sand and is great for squishing between your toes. Strolling along the sandy beach in the late evening with your honey is very romantic. Camping in the sand lets you custom form your bedding. But when there are waves and sand there is sand then there is sand in the shorts. I hate sand in my shorts.

Splashing in the waves is great. Walking from the surf with your swimsuit hanging around you knees full of sand is both embarrassing and uncomfortable. We spent a lot of time at the beach with our children. I spent a lot of time walking funny and rinsing sand from my shorts. I guess girls don’t mind the sand. Beth never complained about sand in her suit.

Sand is useful for other things besides providing ballast for my swimsuit. It cleans things, cushions things and looks great in a fish tank and you can build with it. With the right mixture of sand and tide you have the perfect place to build a sand castle. I started when I was young and passed my skills on to my children. We built many a magnificent structure in the sand.20160605 Kure Beach 048

Our castles included the requisite moat, walls and towers. This was just the beginning. Adding pieces of drift wood there were draw bridges. Tunnels were carefully dug to provide escape routes for besieged residents. If there was enough daylight, we would include all the interior features, chairs, tables, toilets. The ultimate was the dungeon. You couldn’t see the dungeon, because it was underneath our five story castle, but we knew it was there and held evil criminals.

We always built our castles near the high-tide mark so we could watch their destruction. I’m not sure why that was so much fun. Perhaps it’s a guy thing. Since there was more sand than we could count it didn’t matter when the castle dissolved in the tide. We just gathered the sand back up and started over.

Scripture says if we can count the grains of sand we will count God’s people. I tried that once. When I ran out of toes and fingers I figured God had a lot of people to watch over. I have enough trouble just watching over my small family.

But according to the Psalmist God has more thoughts about me than there are grains of sand on the shore. There are lots of shores in the world filled with lots of sand, not to mention all those deserts. I find comfort when I realize God never runs out of thoughts about His children.

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