We, as humans, are similar to sandcastles. We are eternally evolving, multi-faceted structures set in transitional environments. We begin with a loose, malleable foundation that is kept solid, only if it is properly molded, shaped and kept nourished. Some sandcastles are more complicated than others and require more attention while others subsist self-sufficiently. Our sandcastles can be safe sanctuaries that offer us personal comfort. But the ultimate question we ask ourselves is, “Does our sandcastle have the capacity to stay solid throughout life’s adversities?”
Sometimes while the castle building process is in its early foundation stages, our lives can be adversely affected. It can subconsciously have an effect on us. As a defense mechanism, sometimes we build a protective moat around our sandcastle. It is imperative to find resolution in order to build a bridge of openness.
We have no control over the ocean waves of life that have an effect on our structures. We were never given the promise that our sandcastles would be saved from the rush of waves. As we journey down life’s path, it is our choice whether or not we choose to stay solid and survive the waves of life. Or will we dissolve slowly? Our mission should be to never give in to negativity and lose our steady structure.
It is imperative that we make the decision to keep our sandcastles from floundering aimlessly. We should strive for a semblance of normalcy for the return of a solid structure. Ultimately, there is always hope for peaceful resolution and wholeness once again. The beauty of adversity can have a positive way of refining us… if we allow it for ourselves.
My 44 year old brother, Robert, died in 2006 from an auto-immune connective tissue disease. In spite of being completely incapacitated and in a great deal of pain, he had an incredibly strong, viable inner structure–one to be marveled. The last four years of his life he was confined to a lazy boy chair. It was too painful for him to be moved. Because of his innately strong mental capacity, sense of humor, and a sound resolve for happiness, he was able to make that chair his “home.” He found contentment in spite of his circumstances.
I loved going to visit him and I would plan to stay for a full day enjoying his company. I would always bring him his favorite smoked sausage biscuit from Bojangles and a frozen coke from Burger King. He would have taped late night talk shows and hilarious comedies for us to watch. We would sit and laugh all day long. I’m so glad we were able to spend that type of quality time together. The memories of those days will carry me for a lifetime.
I remember one day, as I was handing him his frozen coke, I was struck by the sadness of his incapacity. I said, “Oh, Robert, I’m so sorry.” He said, “What are you talking about? There’s a whole lot worse than this out there!” I learned to never say anything like that to him again. He did not want pity. He knew how to rise above his circumstances and still find pleasurable moments in each day. Some days all it took was a simple sausage biscuit to make his day worthwhile. There was no defensive moat to be found around his sandcastle—instead he reached out and touched other lives with his incredibly remarkable attitude.
After loss, it is profoundly apparent that material possessions are just “things” without lasting value. The true gems are our family and friends. They have the priceless worth and what’s even more important is how we treat them. The great return is that we realize that it takes so very little for contentment–and that’s a good place to be. We can arrive at a place of tranquil understanding– a place where, in spite of our pain, we have an appreciation that life is a mystical opaque sphere where there are just as many beautiful occurrences as there are hardships. Our only requirement is that we accept the full scope and we are promised that understanding comes later. After reaching this unpretentious place of serenity, our sandcastle can ultimately come to rest on a sturdier shore—home at long last.
“Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the grace of God.” –Aeschylus
Hunter Darden-order personalized copies of my books by scrolling to the top of the page and clicking on the link or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.