Our week at the beach

It’s that time of year again— the family heads to the beach. For one blessed week, we load up our cars with beach chairs, books and sunblock, and make our way to our safe haven on the North Shore of Massachusetts.

Our little cottage has been in my extended family’s possession since the year I was born. I learned to walk in the sand here, the wide-open space perfect for little legs.

This time last year, the house was under construction due to a pipe burst, so this year it has had a bit of a facelift. It was exciting to arrive and see the newly installed floors, new countertops and bright backsplash…almost as if we were seeing it with fresh eyes. But as we sat around the table playing a round of cards, we were reminded just why this place is so special to us in the first place.

For one week a year, we set everything else aside and focus on spending time with each other. Dad can be found scanning the tide line for special shells and rocks. Mom can be found following the sandpipers’ path as they scurry along the shore. My sister and I can be found sunning ourselves on our towels, anticipating our next jump in the brisk surf. Brendan can be found skim-boarding, throwing a frisbee or playing a round of can-jam.

Family and friends come and go throughout the week, quickly acclimating to the time-honored traditions—a cook-out on the deck, a trip to the local seafood joint…and of course, the outdoor shower.

They learn that a long walk on the beach can lead to some of the most special moments and nuggets of wisdom that will never be forgotten.

Those who stay for longer, get to experience the joys of attending Sunday Mass at Star of the Sea. A beach parish true to its name. Parishioners file in in flipflops and shorts, getting to Mass early so they can spend the rest of the day in the sun and sand.

The priest, with a heavy Boston accent, keeps his homilies “short and sweet,” knowing the congregation will be anticipating reveling in God’s beautiful world just outside. A Mass on the beach was attempted…but once everyone got eaten alive by “greenheads,” that was the end of that.

Our lives are interwoven with memories of this place…a story of us. And those who get to experience the joy of it get to feel the magic first-hand.

Taking this time to rest and rejuvenate is so important. Jesus knew the value of rest. After long sermons, he would often take time to himself or with his disciples.

After what we have all been through during the coronavirus pandemic, these moments seem more special than ever. There was a time when we didn’t get to visit with family and friends. So now, we hold those we love a little closer and savor every moment of rest.

Wishing a blessed summer to all—one full of rest and special moments with family and friends.