Castles in the Sand

When the waters rise, will our castles remain?

We live in a world that despises imperfections. We believe that we need to cover everything, whether through makeup or surgery. And if the surgery leaves any scar, we have to cover that. If it’s a matter of body type we have to eat less or eat more to try to attain the exact look we think society will deem as good enough. Perfect isn’t even an option.

And that’s what our birthdays become at a certain age, along with so many other holidays. Life does that, and it’s okay. Most days I’m a grown-up, living in a grownup world. But occasionally the opportunity arises to be a kid again, and I’ll jump at that chance pretty much every time.

It was a wedding four years in the making. Today I am no closer to marriage than I was when I set this date, but at the same time that’s not true. I am an entirely different person from the recent college graduate who claimed that date four years ago, and that growth continues to this day. I do not know what the future holds, but I cannot wait to see. And I will continue to hope in faith that someday I will meet my bride, that I will prove worthy of her love and that we will form a bond that blesses us and all around us. And hopefully then, on my real wedding date, my bride will actually show up to the venue, accept my ring and say, “I do.”

When Walt Disney created Disneyland, he wanted it to be a place of escape. There’s even a plaque as you enter that reads, “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.” There truly is something special about stepping into another world, one where all the stories you cherished as a kid are real.

So often we focus our lives on some abstract future goal. It’s great to have goals for our lives, but too often we don’t make them tangible, and it’s amazing how unachievable intangible goals are. But the biggest issue with intangible goals isn’t that we don’t reach them; the biggest issue is that we strain our focus so strongly on them that we miss out on the life we’re experiencing on the road.

I blame Frosty for many things in my life. I blame him for my desire to stay at a small school rather than pursue a “big time” job at a Division I university. I blame him for my recognition that the journey is more important than the destination. And I absolutely blame him for my unwavering passion for athletics and the belief that few experiences can more effectively shape hearts and souls than the brotherhood forged on the field of play – and I never played a competitive team sport.

Nine years ago God used a terrifying experience in my life to reaffirm my faith and my purpose. It will always stand as one of the most important nights of my life, truly helping to define who I am, what I believe and how I live my life. Exactly nine years later, God used yet another terrifying experience to remind me that I am never alone. Even as I was not feeling particularly alone leading up to that night, I was never abandoned.