On the Beach

I was walking on the beach in the late afternoon. Low clouds and chilly air meant I was alone; the ocean to my left and the beach unrolling before my feet were empty except for tangles of seaweed and tiny, scuttling crabs. The air tasted tangy, heavy with kelp and recent storms.

I walked for a long time — out of the afternoon and into the evening — in hopes that the throbbing of the waves would drown out the voices that are my constant, malevolent companions: I am useless, a failure, hopeless, bad, a loser, incompetent, stupid, unworthy, weak, unlovable, selfish, contemptible, fundamentally and irrevocably broken…

When the light was fading from blue dark to the black of night, I saw a fire on the beach and next to it, a man sitting on a blanket. As I approached, he stood and reached out to me. “Adrienne! Come sit down by the fire,” and, nearly numb with cold, I sat. The man gave me a cup of coffee and gestured to a plate of sandwiches. “Help yourself,” he said. “You must be hungry after such a long walk.”

We sat together and ate sandwiches and soon I was warm enough to unzip my jacket and take off my gloves and scarf. “Better?” the man asked, and I nodded while he refilled my coffee cup. “You have a question. Would you like to ask it now?”

Too disturbed by the ceaseless, poisonous chatter in my head to hold back another moment, I opened my mouth and disgorged everything — all the ugly, hateful feelings that paralyze me like a giant anchor paralyzes a ship. Shame and guilt, regret and rage, fear and depression, and, finally, from the very bottom of the sludgy, stinking heap came the angry question, “Why? Why would God create me if I was meant for nothing but misery and struggle? Why?”

The man didn’t answer right away, allowing me time to catch my breath. Finally, he said,  “For love. I created you because I love you.”

The taste of salt and the sound of the ocean seemed very far away. “Adrienne,” he said softly, “when you know, and I mean really know, deep in your guts, that I created you for love, everything will change.”

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On the Beach

19 thoughts on “On the Beach

  1. WOW!

    I cannot even tell you how much I love this.

    And it is so true.

    You were created for love.

    Someday you will know this and believe it.

    You are loved.


  2. That. That is beautiful, Adrienne. As I was reading it, even into the coffee where I began to suspect, I wondered, real or dream. It’s just, I’ve always walked (before kids) for very long times when I needed to. And lots of times when I didn’t.

    I am not a God person, though raised in a God religion. I don’t mind because I know, deep down in a way I didn’t when I existed within my religion, that my faith is okay, and full and strong. I just don’t have that same vision of a person-like entity. I don’t miss what I didn’t truly have because finally I am secure in exactly what you are talking about, so I can relate. (I just can’t put it into visual words …) And I love that we each can have an understanding with respect for each other’s … I hope that Chrisa, the commenter above, finds her new vision of faith.

    Again, beautiful truth, Adrienne. I am inspired.

  3. I have to echo Chrisa, with this one.

    Being caught up in the warmth of faith is a wondrous feeling; but I just don’t have that anymore. My faith has long unraveled, and I have been left out in the cold. I’m not angry at God – I just don’t believe He, or any of the others Gods, exist. I am an Atheist.

    I have seen too much.
    I have felt too much.
    I have been through too much.
    I know too much.

    Feelings. Facts. Both spun together, and led to this new world view. I miss the warmth; but once your eyes have been opened, and you truly see – not just feel – the blanket, you can’t snuggle under it anymore. And, to be honest, I’m OK with that. More than OK. I feel relieved.

    I’m glad you have your faith, though.

  4. Khalil Gibran says what this post evokes in me better than I ever could:

    For love is sufficient unto love.

    When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, I am in the heart of God.”

    And think not you can direct the course of love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

    Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.

    But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:

    To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.

    To know the pain of too much tenderness.

    To be wounded by your own understanding of love;

    And to bleed willingly and joyfully.

    To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;

    To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;

    To return home at eventide with gratitude;

    And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

  5. You paint a beautiful and heartbreaking picture here. Thank you for sharing it. I pray that you will find the love for yourself that you deserve!

  6. Beautiful and inspiring. And yes, when you truly know you were created because of God’s love for you—it’s a game changer.

  7. Yes, you were created for love, and out of love, and because of love. I know. I was there. And you were right; that is how your parents felt about you when you were born. Congratulations. It took me 60 years to do what has only taken 40 for you. I am so very sad that the legacy among the women we came from was so full of self hate and recrimination, sadness and hurt, blame and scolding. It’s taken years and work and patience and understanding and faith and guts and courage to even begin work it all out. You will have hard times, and joyous times; being born is work. Taking those first breaths of air can be scorching. Keep breathing and you will be all right. No fear, no regrets. Love, love love.

  8. Chills. I have yet to find my way back to God after all that has happened and I think it truly is because I have this same question… “Why? Why me?”

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