Livin’ The Dream
During the past year I’ve been emailing my beach friend Lucy. We even packaged up a Christmas gift to send south and continue building our friendship. Lucy has lived here in Sarasota since 1981. I believe, if my math is surprisingly working, that Lucy turned 86 this year.
This morning she was looking for me as she strolled up the beach around 6:30. She was walking more briskly than I remember, and without her walking sticks. I wasn’t sure if this was really Lucy heading my way. I sent up a tentative wave from about 50 yards away. Lucy reciprocated with a big smile. She had emailed earlier in May that she wanted to walk with me on the beach during this year’s study break. I quickly replied with our study break dates and confirmed her walking plan.
We walked to the sea wall and then back to the white sand in front of her property. We covered about a mile and a half, and I worked to make sure I wasn’t a deterrent to Lucy’s previously determined pace. Lucy is a wealth of history and traveled world culture stories. I couldn’t help but think how unique it has been to get to know this eclectic beach walker over the past few years. Our conversation seemed to lack the awkward pauses one might expect from a 35-year gap of generational differences.
After I made it back to my lonely chair and slipped on my ipod, it hit me that most of the early morning beach walkers seem to be “lifers” not unlike Miss Lucy. They were the lucky folks who were living their retirement beach dreams. Their addresses were etched in the crystal sands. They worked all their life for this. This is what the good life had afforded them. Leather skin, salty walks, and all the nasty tourists they can handle has become the much anticipated payoff.
I’m certain that’s not what God has called me to. This seemed to be affirmed in me when later in the day I floated by a young, newly wed couple doing that familiar two heads, one body, water-treading dance. I heard the confident husband say, “We should retire here before we hit 30.” An agreeing giggle was all I could hear through a crashing wave. This little stolen exchange was equivalent to my usual Starbucks eavesdropping, only wetter. With this one, however, something profoundly wrong was stuck in my water-logged crawl.
I don’t want to be livin’ the same dream when I’m sixty-five. Darrin Patrick has challenged my thinking with his book, “Church Planter.” Being a rescued, called, qualified, dependent, skilled, shepherding, and determined man demands such a better, more God-exalting ending. Do I end my life in a barely noticeable fizzle where grains of sand forget my very footsteps within hours of my demise? Or… do I allow God to continue to point my life and ministry in more radical ways that recognize the power of the resurrection, the preeminence of Jesus, and the desperation of 4.5 billion without Christ?
Don’t get me wrong. I love the beach. This is where I recharge. This is where I listen. This is where God will speak into me. This is where He’ll re-create me as He has faithfully done in years past. I always look forward to these concentrated, intentional times away to think, read, study, worship, pray, write, and reconnect with family. I’m grateful to have met such a wonderful lady as Lucy. This beach, though, is not my home, nor do I think it will ever be (much to the chagrin of Sherry). I can only hope that my good life will afford more people more of the gospel and more of me, the older I get. THAT would be livin’ the dream!