It’s easy to see the dirt and stones of everyday life and think that’s all there is. The encroaching water is so close to your shore all your focus is on building some barrier to keep it out. When you lift your eyes from the gravel over which you’ve trod, it’s easy to see only the next big boulder standing in your way forward. Sometimes I find myself so focused on the immediate issues in front of me that I forget to look up far enough. In a day and age where everything is so interconnected, it’s a strange juxtaposition to feel both cornered and have the world at the tips of your twitter fingers.
Technological advancements have made it possible to both connect with as many people as grains of sand on a beach while at the same time feel as if you are trying to claw your way out of a deep golden pit while it buries you with more connections and information than you can process. You might think, “Well, I’ll just focus on myself a while if I’m feeling overwhelmed.” But somehow, disconnecting from the outside world to focus on yourself is a bit more difficult than it sounds. It’s more akin to trying to keep your towel free of sand at the shore. It doesn’t matter how many times you get up and shake it out, carefully laying it back down while you leave your sandy toes off the bottom before some passing beachgoer, excited child, or ocean breeze showers you with more. Rather than give up and resign yourself to sandy eyes, nostrils, and tongue, why not change position? It’s not the beach that you want to give up; it’s not even the sand; it’s allowing the sand to diminish the joy of the warmth of the sunshine, the massive waves battering away your worries or gentle waves lapping away your stress. The warm, grainy sand even feels good sometimes after leaving the coolness of the sea.
What you really want is to put a little distance between you and the annoying aspects of a life full of sand. A beach chair, a grassy hillock, a perfect rock all work well enough to give you the distance you need to be able to manage the sand, stones, and sharp shells interfering with your complete enjoyment of the moment. But like anyone who has ever stayed in bed under the comforting warmth of a blanket with an alarm blaring across the room knows, sometimes it’s just so hard to get up from the place you are to make the change you need. What if you never get quite warm enough again? What if you lose your perfect spot in the bed? What if you wake up too much and can’t get back to that dream you were having or sleep you were having before being interrupted? Until finally, you angrily throw back the covers and go turn the darn thing off because lying in bed without being able to enjoy it is far more frustrating than losing your place.
So maybe it’s time to stop lying on the ground looking at the sand and stones and stand up, stretch out, and look up – over the sand, over the pebbles, past the too-close-for-comfort water, around the rocks, over the boulders and up to the hills.
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. Psalm 121:1