Summer is here and this is where I will be spending a lot of my evenings - the boardwalk at Jones Beach. I am not particularly a beach person. I don't like sand and I don't like crowds. Jones Beach is a popular spot and gets very crowded in the heat of a summer's day. But night time at the beach is different. The boardwalk is two miles long a filled with lots of excitement. I like to go down after dinner and walk, usually by myself. It is a good place to pray and to reflect on the beauty of God's creation.
I have always liked boardwalks. As a child, both sets of grandparents lived in Coney Island, and I fondly remember spending hours "under the boardwalk" getting relief from the heat. That was at a time when under the boardwalk was a safe place to hang out. When we moved to Long Island, we lived within walking distance to the beach, and many a summer night was spent riding my bicylcle with my mother on the Atlantic Beach boardwalk. My elementary school was located across the street from the Long Beach boardwalk.
But the Jones Beach boardwalk is special. There are spots on it that are busy and crowded, but other areas that are quiet and out of the way. God has spoken to me vey clearly many times during my evening walks. Once He surprized me with a bush full of Monarch butterflies when I was feeling a bit low. Other times I heard His voice in the sound of the waves crashing against the shore, reminding me that His Love is as constant as the rising and falling of the tides. A number of times he has blown me away by the awesome beauty of the full moon rising over the Atlantic Ocean.
If the sun hasn't set, I sometimes walk down to the water and watch the sandpipers running across the damp sand, or hermit crabs carrying their houses. While there are not a lot of shells, every once and awhile I do find a real beauty. God's presence is all around me at the beach in the evening. I feel Him in the cool breeze, in laughter of children as they get their last chance to put their feet in the water before they close the beach for the night, and in couples snuggled together wrapped in a blanket sitting on water's edge. Back on the boardwalk I could stop to listen to music at the bandshell or, if the wind is right, hear the sounds coming from Jones Beach theatre. People watchng is always fun. The cultural diversity of the people on the boardwalk helps me to see that God is in all people. Everyone is happy on the boardwalk. You can have an icecream, a cool drink, play volleyball, shuffleboard or miniature golf, or join in square dancing or line dancing.
The boardwalk is a place to relax and be renewed after a day's work. I feel that is why God made beaches and why He inspired people to build boardwalks. If you have the time, come down to Jones Beach one night. Maybe I'll see you there.