I sink my toes into the moist, Texas sand. I feel the exfoliating grains scrub against my feet, rubbing off the dead, finding the soft pink underneath.
My daughters play with wild eyes and belly laughs. I watch as they go back and forth between dirt and water.
Dirt and water.
My Daddy always says, “There are two versions of your life story you can tell…”
Because life is dirt. Sand in your hair, in all your crevices. It’s caked on and rough and sometimes it feels like it’s never coming off. Dirt has a staying power that’s painful.
Sometimes we put the dirt on ourselves. And sometimes the dirt is thrown on, out of our control. We don’t ask for it, but it happens anyway. This earth all in us.
The Joy-girl makes a sand angel, back on the ground, her arms and legs slide up and down. She giggles one of her famous joy-laughs.
I smile and can’t help but think about bath time later, that ring of sand at the bottom of the tub, the scrubbing, the cleaning.
There are two version of your life story you can tell.
Life is water too. Waves washing you over, getting the filth out of your hair, out of your innermost parts. Water heals, cleans, revives. It moistens that too-dry, scratchy sand, freeing skin, freeing soul.
My daughters crash into the Gulf breakers, sand swept out to sea, joy radiating.
Because baptism isn’t just a one-time thing, not really. There is a continual cycle of dying and rising again, changed and new, water dripping off the ends of your fingertips. Freedom from more grime, more earth. Dirt left on the ocean floor.
Jesus beckons us to keep on coming to the water. Because He’s with us there. His gentle hands ready to take us under and guide us back up.
So when you tell your story you can focus on the dirt, or you can focus on the water. The dirt isn’t bad, it’s a part of life; your pain matters. But the water, the water matters more. The water makes you who you are: whole, clean, loved.
The little girls play for hours, their sandy frames jumping in and out of the water. Their great-grandfather watches with delight. They tell a story today: sand is always followed by water.
“My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you…
Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.
By day the Lord directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.”
Psalm 42:6a, 7-8