Spanky and the Sand Pail

I couldn’t help but notice him as I walked along the ocean’s edge. After all, it’s not often you see a man in his mid-fifties strolling through the surf while carrying a lime-green sand pail. Mind you, no small children were in sight; just a portly adult with graying hair that formed a fringe of a halo around his head. With bucket in hand, he scoured the shallow tides, bending every so often to examine a shell before adding it to the contents of his lime-green pail.

The sight of him made me smile as I walked past. What a precious, albeit, unusual sight. Oblivious to the other beachcombers, he continued intently on his way. Searching, bending, gathering. Collecting the treasured shells scattered so liberally across the sands. As I walked a bit beyond his position, I chuckled to myself as I wondered if he had any idea of how perfectly childlike he looked. A grown-up version of Little Rascal’s Spanky had hit the beach and was headed on an adventure. I couldn’t help but envision his goal to be that of discovering some amazing find to brag about with his pals. (I’ll bet he could barely wait to share at the next meeting of the He-Man Woman Haters Club.)

Rather unexpectedly, my chuckle turned into a choking sob as my thoughts cried out, “Oh God, help me to live with a lime-green bucket in my hand! I never want to outgrow the joy of finding treasures in the sand. Instead, I want always to be looking for the lovely things so I can brag about You to my pals.”

That’s right; forget the adult world’s form of the Bucket List. In fact, that has always been somewhat of a pet peeve of mine – to have a goal that stems from Before I die…  Instead, I want my life to spring from While I yet live…

So give me a lime-green sand pail and turn me loose! Loose to live with a freedom that dashes through the waves, laughing at the top of my lungs with the sheer delight that comes in being surrounded by so many treasures. Treasures in the here and now of homeschooling, grading papers, editing articles, planning meals, cleaning the toilet… Give me the courage to live like a child – carefree, unhindered by adult expectations or obligations. Give me a lime-green bucket and let me fill it to the brim again and again as I search and gather the beauty You invite me to collect each day. And always, always help me find reason to brag about You to others.

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