Lessons from my daughter #31.
We have this thing, Miss L and I, that gets us through the worst moments. Whenever it all just gets to be too much I simply ask her if she needs to go for a walk.
‘Yeeeeeaaaah’ she will sigh, looking far too grown up and mature for my liking.
I pop her into the pouch (an Ergo 360 carrier, FYI, and we would be lost without it), sling her around to my back and off we go to the beach.
When I was a teenager, full of angst, that walk along the coast from Soldiers Beach to Cabbage Tree Bay was my saving grace. It was long enough to burn up some anger, isolated enough that I could cry and scream without witnesses and beautiful enough to make me forget what I was so upset about in the first place.
There’s something a little bittersweet about making that trek now. I’m certainly not as fit or adept at climbing over the rocks as I used to be. I’m carrying a good 15kg on my back in the form of a squirming little girl instead of dragging our old beloved dog along on a lead. And the angst isn’t teenage rebellion but the weight of adulthood and the prospect of making decisions where nobody wins. But the result is the same and if I am slower and more awkward, well it doesn’t really matter.
For Miss L these walks are a kind of ‘time out’. Usually it will take a good ten minutes of kicking and squirming and trying to escape before she will let me distract her with boats and dogs and waves and seagulls. She settles and excitedly says hello to each person we pass. Then there is this blissful, magical moment when she will wrap her little hand around my ponytail, tuck her face between my shoulder blades and let her toes rest against my hips in perfect peace. Complete surrender. Sometimes she sleeps but most of the time she just happily points her face to the warm winter sun and watches the water lapping up the sand. As many passers by have said, she has the best seat in the house!
On one of these days we came across a nesting pair of sea eagles soaring over the cliffs beneath the lighthouse. We watched, spellbound, for ages until they drifted out of sight into the clouds. I’ve seen eagles aplenty but what struck me this time was the realisation that those beautiful birds had not flapped their wings even once. They simply floated on the air, at ease. Effortlessly.
Like Miss L, I have kicked and fought against the constraints in my life, wanting to solve all the problems and come up with all the answers when perhaps all I needed to do was relax and trust arms that hold me close to take the burden. When Isaiah wrote that those who wait on the Lord will soar on wings like eagles this is exactly what he meant. In that single moment when I finally give in and trust the Father with my very existence, the most difficult act of faith somehow becomes the easiest. Complete surrender. Circumstances may not have changed but my soul is at peace. At a time when life looks the very worst instead each breath comes freely. Effortlessly.
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.