Wednesday, January 9, 2008

dazed state of the sunburnt mind

If my brain seems to have gone on holidays, and I am posting blogs of no significance whatsoever, it's because I'm in that dazed holiday state where nothing much seems to matter, and real life feels a long way off.

I hope this finds your brain in a similar state of extreme relaxation, that is if you're also on holidays, not if you are a working person caring for critically ill patients or rescuing victims from life-threatening situations (in which case, thank you, it's a good thing someone is keeping civilization going. May your own holidays be extra blessed, whenever they may be.)

As for me, I am feeling refreshed and invigorated (and slightly more aged and wrinkled, thanks to the sun) after holidaying in Apollo Bay for 10 days after Christmas. We stayed with my parents and my brother's family in a huge, noisy 2-story white house overlooking the sea. The holiday was paid for my my generous parents - thank you parents!

Steve had 7 days all on his own, his idea of the perfect holiday being to escape from a people-intensive job and a large family and live in front of the computer/television for a week (don't worry, my time for solitude will come).

He joined us in Apollo Beach for the last few days, promptly got badly sunburnt ("I couldn't reach my back! I thought you'd brought the sunburn cream to the beach!") and had to sit around stiffly watching the cricket during our final day (no doubt a great hardship).

My head is echoing with those moments, good and bad, so crucial to a beach holiday:

    The endless putting on of bathers, plastering on of sunburn cream, and packing of towels, hats, buckets, spades, and boogie boards as the kids and I prepare for yet another morning at the beach.

    The uncomfortably damp, sandy return home in the hot car, followed by the ritual washing of sandy feet under the garden tap, rinsing off small sandy backs and bottoms under the shower, and hanging countless damp towels and bathers on the line.

    Our rainbow-striped kite snapping its sides and flicking its tail high against the dazzling sky, confidently riding a steady ocean wind far above the pummelling gusts below, the thin nylon string tugging at my fingers and rough grass prickling my feet as I gaze meditatively upwards.

    Catching my breath at the beauty of the ocean in the evening light, foaming waves touched to phosphorescence tumbling towards the shore and crashing against the rocks, sending dotted plumes of white spray improbably high into the air.

    Enjoying the exhilarating rush that even a child's boogie board on a small wave can provide, and the long ride through turquoise water churning to brown as I reach the shallows.
Of course, being on planet earth, not yet in heaven, there were also more painful moments: digging a huge splinter from the rough veranda out of a 4-year old's foot while he tried desperately to be brave; smearing aloe vera ointment into reddened skin after a 9-year old's first encounter with sunburn; and trying to rest, after a disturbed night cuddling an unsettled baby, in a noisy house where the wooden floors overhead magnified every step into a shuddering bang.

But isn't the world wonderful? And hasn't God made it gloriously? What I am left with (besides more freckles and an advanced state of relaxation) is an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the God whose final act of creation was that wonderful gift: rest.

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