Building Sandcastles

“As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.” Luke 6:47-48

With Father’s Day approaching on Sunday, I have been recalling memories of my two children with their dad when they were little. One of my favorite photos is of the three of them building a sandcastle on the beach of Horseshoe Bay in Bermuda (seen below). The memory is a sweet one. There was no bickering between my son and daughter, no clamoring for dad’s undivided attention and no one was demanding control over the process or the outcome. I witnessed only cooperation, creativity, and communication as they played together in the warm sun and sand.

Have you ever watched a child build a sandcastle near the water’s edge? Their resilience is remarkable! Even when a wave knocks down their masterpiece, they start all over, determined to rebuild their castle with all its towers and moats to keep the kings and queens, princes and princesses safe inside. And when it is time to go home, it never occurs to them that their castle will be gone the next morning, washed away by the ebb and flow of the tide.

There is a popular phrase, “our home is our castle.” It conjures up images of a place of refuge and a safety. A place of happily ever after. Since March, our homes have become almost like fortresses with moats and high walls to keep ourselves in, and others out, in order to protect ourselves from COVID-19. For those of us who enjoy inviting the company of family, friends, and neighbors into our homes, this has been hard. I can imagine it has been especially hard for young families and for those who live alone.

Not every day has been a fairy tale inside my castle during the quarantine. Sometimes the desire to let down the drawbridge and invite light and laughter from others has been pretty intense. But the time has also invited reflection on the foundations of my home life and my contributions to it. It has been a time of rebuilding. I have worked diligently to add more towers of love, patience, acceptance and understanding to our castle.

Harold Kushner writes in his book When All You’ve Ever Wanted Wasn’t Enough, “All the things in our lives, all the complicated structures we spend so much time and energy creating, are built on sand. Only our relationships to other people endure. Sooner or later, the wave will come along and knock down what we have worked so hard to build up. When that happens, only the person who has somebody’s hand to hold will be able to laugh.”

May the love and support of your family lift you up and hold you. May you take hold of each other’s hands, and, laughing, sit down to build your next sand castle together.

Merrill Noble
Director of Children’s Ministry

For those without a home:
God of provision, we pray for those that do not have shelter of their own. Lord, bless them with protection from the heat and the rain, bless them with food and clothing, bless them with someone’s hand to hold and bless them with joy and peace of mind. Thank you that you will supply their every need. Amen.