God, teach me lessons for living
so I can stay the course.
Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—
my whole life one long, obedient response. (Psalm 119:33-34 The Message)
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 The Message)
Living on a boat is like being on a constantly swaying hammock, which is exactly why I enjoy it! One of the first times we got back from a week long trip on the boat, I bought a porch swing, because I missed the motion. I’ve noticed on this adventure that when I’m off the boat, I almost NEED to walk, run or ride my bike.
The last two days I have been in motion, checking out the local walking/bike trail and the Honeymoon State Park. On Monday afternoon, I headed out towards the historic part of Dunedin. I missed the turn off because I was listening to my running app to get ready for an 8K race this weekend. I ran about 2 miles and then walked back. On the way back, I started snapping photos of rest stops. Or places that seemed to invite rest. I was elated to find a Hammock Park. I thought after that nice run, I’d love to just sway in a hammock and look up into the sky. So, I followed the signs to the park. And here was my epiphany:
In Florida, a hammock park is disc golf course. (See the hanging basket at the bottom right hand corner of the photo, that’s the “hammock” that catches the disc.) So I enjoyed the scenery, and turned back to the trail.
At the intersection, where I cross back to the marina, a mother and daughter were on their bikes, waiting to cross the other street. We had a brief conversation about the “real” Epiphany, which is celebrated on January 6th by the Eastern Orthodox Church. I almost went to the celebration over in Tarpon Springs, but I had a different epiphany.
I wanted to go to the beach. The nearest beach to our boat is over on Honeymoon Island. Tuesday evening, Les helped me get the bike ready for a ride on Wednesday morning. I packed a small rucksack to carry some snacks and art supplies plus a journal and a couple books. I was planning to spend most of the day there, if possible.
I rode my bike along the St. Joseph sound along the causeway to the the State Park. I paid my couple bucks to get in the park, and headed to the nature center, where the park volunteers told me how to get to the North Beach. Before going there, I walked around the grounds near the center, and found a porch swing looking out onto the sound. It wasn’t a hammock, but it was a welcome place to sit and reconnect with God. His goodness overwhelmed me, and a few of those salty tears rain down my face.
I thanked God for being my Dad, and the invitation to join him at the beach today. (There was a dedication on the swing in memory of DAD. That simple word on the swing reminded me that I am my heavenly Dad’s delightful daughter. It also made me miss my dad and Les’ dad. A good pause to grieve and be comforted before heading to the beach.)
It was a glorious day, riding my bike, looking for seashells and resting on the beach. God invites us to take rest stops with him often to be refreshed. Find that happy place or activity where you and God can enjoy each other’s company.
Maybe you can’t go for a bike ride or collect seashells today, but why not make a blanket tent and just lie inside and think about God’s love or collect some magazines and create a collage. God delights in you, and loves your company.
Rest Stop Photos: