Elaine Wheat is a faith columnist for the Victoria Advocate.

Editor’s note: On Dec. 28, 2018, Elaine crossed over to that Eternal Shore and her family, friends and readers are missing her. The Advocate is reprinting Elaine’s articles for a year.

“Thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee.” – Deuteronomy 8:2

Today, I wanted to see my Sandy Beach, so I went looking for it. Sandy Beach is my very favorite place to stop beside the sea and be me.

Most of the time, I just drive right on by Sandy Beach because I am rushing somewhere else to fish. Sandy Beach is not a good place to fish because that is where rocks live. It’s really shallow right out there in the water, and there doesn’t seem to be any fish there.

The only real purpose for me for that little stretch of beach to even exist is just so I can go there and be with my Sandy Beach. I owe it nothing because it doesn’t belong to me; I just know that I can look forward to being there with Sandy Beach when I really need to be.

Today as I drove up there and turned off the hard top road, I had such a shock that I almost cried. No, I’m lying. I didn’t almost cry, I did cry.

My Sandy Beach was gone. In order to save it from ocean erosion, some thoughtful environmentalist had hauled in a bunch of broken rocks and cement and covered it up in order to save it, which at the time, didn’t make any sense to me.

The idea that something can be taken away so you can save it still seems a bit odd, but on one level, I did understand that twisted thinking.

I had to face the fact that Sandy Beach was gone, and I would never be there with it just because I loved it. All that was left for me where the memories of the times we had spent together enriching each other.

At first, memories are painful things when all we have left are memories. After a while, memories become wonderful things because you don’t have to actually be there to have them. Sandy Beach memories can go with me anywhere I go, pop into my head at any time or be there when I need those memories to blot out any old rotten here and now.

I would rather have the actual Sandy Beach, but if I can’t, I take the memories of it with me. Good bye, my Sandy Beach.

Dear Lord, I just realized that a person can’t have memories unless one has the experience in the first place. Is that why the times You and I spend together are there is so that when I need to remember You, I will already know You by heart. Good thinking, God.

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