Sandcastle Stories

Feb 16th 2012

I was born in California, the land of the beach. We moved to South Dakota when I was only four, but having left all our relatives behind, California became our #1 vacation destination. So from the storage rooms of my mind I can still retrieve memories of going to the beach. The water and the waves were ok, but what excited me, perhaps like many children was all…that sand. Enough sand to fill a million little blue plastic shovels full of sand, which filled the buckets, which made the castles.

Sandcastles, almost everyone has at some time built a sandcastle on the beach. I suppose each sandcastle was different. Most of mine were fairly unoriginal, a bucket here and a bucket there, no architectural designs in my blood, but each sandcastle had one thing in common…a moat.  No moat.  No castle.  Of course without water, there was no moat, so before my sandcastle day was over, my number one goal and number one frustration was keeping that silly moat full of water. Bucket after bucket after bucket, I would pour into my moat, running from ocean to sandcastle and back again. When I was really fast, I could get back just in time to see the last bit of the last bucket disappear into the sand. Twenty feet away was an ocean full of water, but I couldn’t keep my little sand moat full.

Sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same. We exchange our oceans for careers, or families, or popularity, or relationships, or possessions and then we spend our days running back and forth trying to fill up our lives. Trying to re-main full of life.  We get back from one activity just in time to see the satisfaction of the last activity draining out of our lives.

I wonder if busyness/hurry has become a defining quality of our culture.  Soren Kierkegaard wrote,

“…the press of busyness is like a charm…it’s power swells…it reaches out seeking always to lay hold of ever younger victims so that childhood or youth are scarcely allowed the quiet and retirment in which the Eternal may unfold a divine growth.”

An empty charm, because we have bought into the empty promise, that if we just live a bit fast, run a little harder, we can keep our moats full.  But at the end of the day, we find ourselves just tired.  The prophet Isaiah wrote,

A hungry person dreams of eating, but is still hungry. A thirsty person dreams of drinking but is still faint from thirst when morning comes. Isaiah 29:8 (NLT)

We wake up and it starts all over again.  Slow down for a moment and ask yourself some questions.  What activities bring me the most satisfaction?  What satisfactions last the longest?  If I keep finding a hunger within me that can’t be satisfied in this world, is it possible that I was made for another world?

The story is told that one day Jesus met a woman at a well, along a dusty, dry road.  He told the woman that he could give her living water that would quench her thirst in a way she had never before experienced.  Today, he still invites us, “Come Thirsty.”