When our daughter, our first child, was only 18 months old, her Godmother lent us their beach house in North Carolina for a week at the end of summer. What a wonderful regenerating gift to a family that had just come through the amazing and beautiful trauma of adjusting to their first child. My parents joined us on this vacation and it was a wonderful time for all of us to rest and relax and for our little girl to roll in the sand and water. During one particular evening we were walking down the beach at night, the entire family. Our girl had been in and out of wet, sandy swimsuits and clothes all day and at this point was simply toddling along in the warm evening in nothing but her plain white diaper. We had a flashlight with us, which we were using to spot ghost crabs and other beach night life. We soon discovered that our little girl's favorite place to run was right in the middle of that spot of light cast by the flashlight. We would aim the beam back and forth across the beach just ahead and beside us and she would run with all abandon in the middle of the light. She would laugh and giggle as it would change directions, stop, and start again and even reverse. Little feet kicking sand up and blond little curls bouncing enjoying nothing more this race in the light.
What a wonderful image of how we should walk with our father! She wasn’t concerned about where the light was pointing, or if the light would go out, or how fast or slow she had to go to stay in the light, she simply stayed in the light, wherever it was pointed. Somehow for us, it seems so much more complicated to stay in the light. We have all the trappings of life on our shoulders; families, jobs, cars, houses, and everything that distracts us from seeing and staying in the middle of that light. Maybe one of the things that struck me about the image of our little girl running on the beach was the simplicity of the image. It was just her with nothing but her pants, and not another distraction. She wasn’t carrying the arm loads of floaties, life vests, or seashells that many of us lug with us on our beaches. And most importantly, there was only one thing on her mind, staying in that light.
What this reminds me, when I think back on this moment, is that we need to look at the clutter that we are carrying through our life, strip down to the bare essentials of what it takes to stay in the light and focus on that one thing. And what is in the light is so much greater than all that other stuff that we leave behind us in the dark.
After writing these thoughts down, I realized that Paul summed it up with such inspiration in his letter. Hebrews 12:1 states:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
Run in that spot Light!