The Welcoming Committee

Do you remember when you were a child and you were so open and moved and played along in life without a care?

Perhaps like me, you would sometimes hide behind Mother or Father but for the most part once past the shyness, would go out to life, soaking in everything with a joyful, playful attitude. I personally want that back. I want to live with abandon. I want to own my goofiness and my silliness all over again along with my child-like faith that everything is going to be OK. That silly side is returning little by little.

Yesterday was the day about girly silliness and riding down the open highway letting all worry and sadness float out the window. I spent the day with my daughter and she and I laughed and goofed around.  I could not soak those moments in any more if I tried. She and I decided to take a drive to the beach.

I couldn’t wait to put my toes in the sand and look at the ocean and hear the surf. It was a funny sort of trip, not that we were laughing but for what would come next. On the way to the beach she and I laughed and we sang to the car radio, as she drove along.

We arrived at the beach and I looked out at the familiar sights. I was amazed at all of the people still at the beach during off-season which by the way is my favorite time. So we located a beach access I had not noticed before and just as I was trudging my way up the slight incline, I stopped and decided to sit on a dune at a distance from the waters edge. I thought to myself ‘this is the perfect spot’.

I saw people at a distance enjoying the beach but this was perfectly fine right here at this spot on this dune. I was just enjoying my isolated spot when I saw out of the corner of my eye a little red and blue ball land in the sand just about 50 feet or less away from me, just on the other side of the dune. I thought there must be a child playing nearby but surprisingly it was a man, two men in fact. I was immediately startled and curious. The men appeared to be older than myself but who can really tell? The one had Grey slightly wavy hair and a hat and the other had seemingly longer brown hair and a hat. I couldn’t decide if he was totally inebriated as he looked at his feet as if trying to keep an eye on them or he was just shocked and uncomfortable that a woman was sitting on the dune. I became a little on edge admittedly also. The one looked at me and the other walked a wide birth around me for whatever his reason as he left the beach access.

He seemingly was more afraid of me or maybe he just needed to stay close to the dunes across from me in case he should tumble. I mean he was a little wobbly.

Anyway, I tried to open my mouth to say something to the one man who by now sat down in the sand nearby, but as it would be, he yelled out to his friend and seemingly more concerned with the adult beverage his friend was on his way to retrieve. He called out to his friend to make sure there was ‘extra ice’ or ‘no’ ice. I don’t remember now. The friend later would return with two cups holding a beverage, whatever it was.

Those moments when the one man sat down in the sand just down from me, I couldn’t decide who was the more uncomfortable, myself or him. He would turn back and look either at me or in the direction of his departed friend. I kept trying to muster the voice to say something to him or force a smile but I could do neither, so I let it pass.

Bashful is not fun! I’ve come full circle to hiding behind my mother and not being able to speak or with only a whisper.

Then another man approached carrying a red box with a clear front which appeared to have water in it and one or two fishing poles. I heard myself ask him if he had caught anything and he responded “only one fish”. I had even tried awkwardly to joke that we (the 2 of us sitting on the dunes) were the welcoming committee. He had grinned. It was an odd place to be sitting I suppose. After that a young boy walked by. I assumed he was the son carrying beach chairs and two ladies were right behind him.

By now the first two men picked up the balls they had been tossing in the sand (apparently some amusement game) and walked on down the beach, continually throwing them out and following them. Observing the two men, I decided it must have been a game of who had thrown the farthest. At least they were enjoying themselves, staggering and all.

So here I sat alone on the dune, the only one left of the welcoming committee.

Anywhoo, when the ladies approached, right away I was more comfortable and I spoke to them. One of them looked at me and said almost to herself, “that was a long haul. Why do we do that to ourselves?” I responded with “that is why I am sitting here.” It was a good distance to the shoreline.

Interesting, my observation of myself and the people I had briefly encountered was that I had immediately been on edge when the first two men showed up on the scene, who seemingly were under the influence. My interior guard went up. Not so much toward the next gentleman, although the exchange for me was awkward. He at least seemed approachable and then of course the ladies I was completely at ease with. A couple of years ago, the ex and my daughter both would say I could talk to a sign-post. How in the world did I become so uncomfortable around people?

Life and experience has made the change. It was so much simpler as a child.

So eventually, I got up from my sitting position in the nice spot on the dune and walked back to where my daughter was parked, musing to myself that little step (unplanned around people) was what I needed for the day. God is amazing like that. I believe we cross paths on purpose. There is something also about being near the ocean. I always feel better/stronger somehow.

I so love wearing tee shirts and shorts and flip flops everyday as I did when I was a girl. At least that part of me is still the same.

I love living near the ocean. There is something about the sights and the sounds and the smell of the sea air and feeling the breeze and something really soothing about my toes in the sand. It really lifts my spirits. Afterward, my daughter and I stopped for take out from a Japanese grill that she had been wanting me to try. It was so yummy. My daughter and I continued to laugh and sing as we drove home. Then we sat together and watched a show on television. I received a call from a family member who lives in another town. She is such a lovely lady and the sound of her familiar voice and sharing stories of our family was just what I needed. God’s perfect timing.

It was a great day and evening until…time for bed and settling in for the evening…..why you might ask? Because I am single! I was made for relationship, but like a child, I am going to press on and keep the child-like faith!

…Baby-steps…and other welcoming committee experiences to be had.

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