Come to the water

I couldn’t believe the news. As soon as I hung up the phone I stared out the window for a good ten minutes, letting it all sink in.

A single pipe burst ruined my beach vacation. A little background…my family and I take one week a year to go to our beach house in the summer—and that time is sacred to us, the closest we ever get to true peace.

With the coronavirus pandemic surrounding our every thought, tough decisions to be made and hard conversations to be had at home, I had been looking forward to this vacation since March, even just longing for a change of pace.

But when my family called to let me know of the flooded lower level and the 6-8 week renovation to follow, I couldn’t help but feel devastated, like this lifeline that we looked forward to was being taken away from us. My mom came up with a plan—we would stay a few days at a house down the road from ours that a family friend rented and spend one night at a hotel. This seemed like a good consolation, and at least we would still get to go to the beach. Let’s just say, the rental wasn’t what we expected, but we made the best of it for a few nights! Despite the fact that this was my vacation, I found it extremely difficult to relax. Moving from house to house to hotel, dragging everything back and forth, left my brain little time to fully tune-in to vacation mode. My mind kept returning to all the problems I had to deal with back home. No matter where we go, we take our problems with us, despite our intentions to leave them at the shore.

My brother and dad headed home after the first few days, but my mom and I couldn’t tear ourselves away. With a bathroom hooked up in our newly de-floored beach house, we decided to stay— call it “an adventure.” I was determined to relax, even if I had to force myself.

It turns out it wasn’t all that difficult once I really let myself settle in. We kept saying we’d “play it by ear” …but we ended up staying most of the week.

There is something truly magical about getting to swim in the ocean every day. Salt water has such amazing health benefits and my whole body could feel it. Maybe it was the sun, maybe it was the fact that it was just my mom and I, or maybe it was my conscious decision to leave my problems at the shore.

The Sunday following my vacation was the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The first reading from Isaiah read:

Thus says the LORD: All you who are thirsty, come to the water!
You who have no money, come, receive grain and eat;
Come, without paying and without cost, drink wine and milk!
Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what fails to satisfy?
Heed me, and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare. Come to me heedfully, listen, that you may have life. I will renew with you the everlasting covenant, the benefits assured to David (Isaiah 55:1-3).

Come to the water. Water is healing. Throughout Scripture, water is used as a symbol for healing, for being made new. When was the last time you let that healing water wash over you? Whether it be immersing yourself in the ocean, taking a long hike, reading a great book or cooking a nutritious meal? What can we do for ourselves during this time to ensure that we leave our problems at the shore?

Thus says the LORD: All you who are thirsty, come to the water!