This entry is part of an occasional series in which metaphorical ideas find their way onto your screen. Its roots are simple: When you look with fresh eyes, there may be life lessons to find in just about anything….
Something I learned from seaside daytrips when I was a kid: Build sandcastles higher on the beach than the tide can reach. Too close to the pounding surf—whatever you built was wiped out by one wave. Too far from the water—too-dry sand wouldn’t hold together to form any structure. But at the right location—a tad above the grasp of the tide’s highest surge—you could build a substantive fortress that would last awhile. AND your supply of construction-grade sand would be plentiful….
That life lesson seems useful to me in these times of rising tides—literal and figurative—that seem to be overwhelming much of ordinary existence. Enterprises related to economics, health, relationships, politics and religion seem to be unraveling, disintegrating or disappearing. These days I feel some futility—many of the grander goals I adopted earlier in life are demonstrably vulnerable. “What to do?” hounds me regularly. Relocating sandcastles might be a helpful way to think and act.
Some personal examples of longer-lasting palaces:
- “Kingdom-building” at the grassroots level—my congregation, or one of its parts. (Committees, task forces, roles, small groups)
- Volunteering in local political campaigns or with non-partisan community efforts. (Postcard writer, canvasser, election judge)
- Reassessing the cost of my entertainment, travel or nutrition, finding sustainable/manageable levels.
- Praying about what’s personally possible alongside praying for miracles.
It’s conceivable that I might have given up some of the larger purposes of my life. But having watched too many of those earlier efforts washed away, I think I can still answer those callings in a smaller way by being more shrewd about where to do castle construction.
None of my life goals will ever be completely secure or perfectly achieved, I know. But I’m still going to keep building sandcastles.
In their optimum locations, though….
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