Ocean Views

Little Boy on the Beach at Sunset in Oceanside- September 30, 20


Kneeling next to me is a father and his two sons, one son looks about four years old and the other seven. They’re both wearing UV protected swimwear and hats. Any exposed skin has been generously coated with hand-streaked layers of creamy sunscreen. The three of them sit close together in the wet sand building a castle.

Twenty yards down from us I see a brown-skinned little boy playing in the ocean. He enthusiastically boogie boards, swims and snorkels all by himself. He’s only five. I know, because I asked his dad who sits a distance away in the shade behind me. The beach is obviously this little guy’s playground. I watch him maneuver between tourists oblivious to their inquisitive stares. One after another slow down to admire his skill – and most give a quick scan of the area to see who’s supervising him.

Meanwhile, the castle takes shape. Dad and the older boy commiserate about the architectural design while the younger one fiddles with a bucket next to them. Dad slides a shovel over and begins helping him fill the bucket.

I watch the wheels turn on each of the three boy’s faces. I observe play and relationships.

I think about fathers.

I ponder.

Is one father a little too neglectful and obtuse or is the other too over-protective and controlling?

I realize I’ve found myself accusing God of the same things. Sometimes he seems distant and removed – leaving us to fend for ourselves in the angry sea of life, silent. Other times he seems restrictive and narrow – controlling. His rules suffocate creativity and strangle our individuality.

Perhaps the better observation might be – one father clearly trusts all he has taught his self-directed young son and gives him freedom to build on what he’s learned, even freedom to make mistakes. The other father understands the value of intimacy and is intuitively aware of each son’s unique personality and development.

Thunderous waves effortlessly roll in and out from the shore.

The sun teases me with it’s stationary appearance on the distant horizon.

Our Father watches and whispers affirmation. He releases us to play on his beach.


“That they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for in him we live and move and have our being, as even some of your own poets have said, we are indeed his children” Acts 17:27-28



14 replies on “Ocean Views”

  1. Our view of God can certainly change from day to day, or like you said, minute to minute. I’m glad he’s the consistent one 🙂

    1. Like it says, “We’re all his children” – aren’t you glad about that. Hope you find a play-filled place to enjoy him this weekend, Rachel.

  2. Thank you, Pat, for the beauty of the contrast and the lessons you reveal. Miss you LOTS but your words always teach, grow and comfort.

    1. YOUR words consistently teach, grow and comfort me, Conni. I miss you and our group very much. Thank you for reading and commenting. Appreciate you.

  3. I LOVE the beach! So thankful I grew up in Santa Cruz and raised our three sons there too! I tell the Lord ALL the time, “Please don’t EVER take me away from the ocean UNLESS it’s your perfect will for my life!” Funny how the Lord speaks to all of us when we listen to the surf crashing (so powerful) even though noisy. It’s comforting and affirming that He is soooo mighty! Love the way you spoke about how our observance of our heavenly father can vary way too often! His love is constant though even when it seems He is distant. Praise the Lord for His word,”I will never leave you or forsake you.” Good post Pat once again!

    1. We’re pretty grateful to live by the beach too Jeannie. I look forward to walking those cliffs with you again in the spring. Miss you, friend.

  4. I wish I could say I always have a proper view of who God is and how he responds to my needs. But there are times, if I’m honest, I feel he is rigid and silent. It isn’t easy to admit that. I love the scripture you chose. At the end of the day I believe I am his daughter and he is with me.
    Really nice reminder Pat.

    1. I’m sure I’m not the only person reading your comment who feels (or has felt) the same way – especially during difficult times. Thanks for your honesty. I’m grateful to be called his daughter too.

  5. Wonderful reflections! So grateful for the constant love of my Heavenly Father. Thank you for reminding me Pat, that He is watching me right now and I can be confident of His care and protection.
    Your observations of children are so precious!

    1. You’re a treasure to me, Ruth. I appreciate your love and care for children too. May your Heavenly Father continue to direct your steps in the coming weeks. Praying Isaiah 30:21 over you.

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