No ones keeping score

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

This morning I walked down to the beach alone.  I sat in the sand, digging my toes in, feeling the coolness of it’s depth – before the heat of the day. I wrote to you last summer about what the ocean means to me. Part of me was scared I wouldn’t have anything more to say. But that only illuminates the short-sightedness of our every day thought. A foolish thought: nothing more to say. Once you live by the ocean for any extended period of time, it never lets you go.

It’s been 13 years since Mommy and I “moved home” from Seabrook Island, SC. It never lets you go. You never forget the space and the freedom and the grip of anything different feels unbearable sometimes.

I sat for about 30 minutes just listening down by the gulf this morning. I stared into the glass of the breaking waves, looking for some sign, I guess. Jimmy Buffett said “Mysteries, don’t ever try to solve them, we’re just players in a game, and  no one’s keeping score.”

My mind got stuck on that thought while I sat there.

Time passed and I wasn’t coming to any sort of revelations this morning. But then I saw her coming in the distance and my focus shifted to what she told me a year ago. I couldn’t believe it was her again. The same old lady. White hair. Turtle patrol shirt. pants wet around her calves and knees from the ocean. The wisdom in her eyes with another year’s life showing in her face. She walked back into my life in the coolness of the morning. Again. My feet buried in the same sand as before. The same spot where I swore her words would change my life. They did, but there I sat this morning needing another sign.

I stood up and said good morning. She smiled. I told her that Papaw told me early this morning about a turtle crawl he had seen up the beach around sunrise.

So, Ann from the South Walton Turtle Patrol and I hurried up the beach to find the spot together.

We talked about the turtles. It was the first turtle crawl sighting of the season.

She explained how the turtle drags itself up the beach to it’s nest, turns around and goes back to the sea. She was excited about the cycle. I let her borrow my phone to call it in.

As she talked I couldn’t stop thinking about what she told a year ago and how it changed things for me – and about how God shows up in ways you aren’t expecting.

Ann said: “Don’t spend your life counting the inbetween days. You have to reinvent yourself.”

I imagined that turtle dragging itself from the water, across the beach, resting there in the dunes, and then going home.

She asked me a year ago if it was  my first day or last. I guess no one’s keeping score.

I love you,

– Daddy