Beach notes June 2015
Images of Sponsorship
Edge of adventure
The Edge of Adventure was a book by Bruce Larson and Keith Miller that some of you may have read many years ago in the 90’s about the Christian life and what it is like to start the adventure. I see a metaphor of the adventure of intervention, a 12-step call, sponsorship as I watch this evening from our balcony on the gulf coast as a pageant plays out on the beach below.
It is near sunset. A sleek young couple dressed in black drive up to the beach access road by our condo in their looks-like-new Clays Car golf cart -- black with a white top and leather seats. They get out with the young daughter. The barefoot darling could not be more than two, petite with a wide brim sunhat and a flowing blue sundress ending just below her knees. As she holds her father’s hand, the top of her bonnet barely reaches his hip. They walk to the beach to the ocean’s edge, and then she will go no farther. Her parents coax her to put her tiny feet into the surf, but she refuses to get wet. She now wants her mother to hold her. The father goes into the surf and picks out beautiful shells and shows her her first fruits of the sea, but she still will not budge into the water. It is obvious that her parents love the sea and they want their daughter to experience it as well. Finally her parents walk into the surf together hand in hand and the daughter plays and runs about the dry sand just in front of them.
Just a few feet away a shirtless grandfather comes out to the surf with his grandson, maybe 4 or 5 years old. The grandson has on a white shirt and short blue pants. The grandfather strokes his white beard, shows the grandson how to bait his hook and casts his line into the surf. He almost constantly looks back to see where his grandson is. Is he babysitting or is this a lesson in fishing? Maybe both. The grandson is less interested in fishing and more interested in the rise and the fall of the surf. The grandson playfully goes to the edge of a wave’s edge but awkwardly runs away from the rising surf as it comes close to him. He as well decides the surf is too scary or maybe he just doesn’t want to get his feet wet. He tiptoes to the edge and then runs back as the unpredictable surf moves toward him. Then something happens. Either he does not move fast enough or the foaming white surf comes in a bigger wave, but he gets his feet wet. He quickly runs away from the water, but with the next wave he ventures slightly into the water again. This time he stays a brief period longer. Then finally he just stays at the water’s edge getting his feet wet with each wave. When the wave has more power than his legs can handle he widens his stance to stay firmly in place.
Life at the beach near sunset. A time for young children to venture out when the sun is not as hot. Parents and grandparents care for them, watch them, want to share with them their love and adventure of life at the edge, but the children must be ready for adventure, but when they are ready, how wonderful to be with those we love when the adventure starts as they get their feet wet and feel the power of the surf. The parents tried to entice their toddler daughter to the adventure, but she is not ready. The grandfather just let his older grandson by a couple of years venture by himself while the grandfather stayed near by watching. The grandson was ready. Perhaps tomorrow his grandfather will take his hand and they will walk farther into the ocean side by side. Perhaps as they go deeper into the waves, the grandfather will give him a life jacket just in case in he slips and falls and loses his grip on his grandfather’s hand.
This is evangelism, what it is like to share the good news.
This is what it is like to share the message of Alcoholics Anonymous. We want to share the message of this new life with those we love but sometimes they are not ready. When they are ready we walk to the edge of this new adventure with them but we have to let them decide when to go in. We patiently wait, and when they are ready, we take their hand and go deeper and give them more protection, the 12 steps, a new life jacket.