Recently I did a life review while floating in the ocean on a beach in Waikiki. I always do this, because as I am floating, the thought usually crosses my mind, “What if a shark just comes out of nowhere and eats me whole right now? What will my life have been about?”
That might be one of the reasons why I’m actually not much of a beach person. I go because my family likes it. While there, I often go through a series of thoughts about what life is all about. I wonder where all of the other people on the beach came from and what value the experience brings to their lives. I wonder if they are there as an escape from their “regular lives” or if they are there simply because they enjoy it. I also think about this saying from William Blake that I have not been able to unhear ever since I first heard it.
To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower. Hold infinity in the palms of your hand and eternity in an hour. — William Blake
Usually, I hold a handful of sand and trip out on the thought that according to that idea, I am holding countless worlds in my hand. WHAT THE WHAT?! Thinking about this really shifts my perspective. I think of God and wonder if our Earth is a grain of sand to God and if, like I am holding these countless grains of sand, God is “holding” infinite worlds. I then look at the beach and can barely handle the thought that each grain contains a world. And then I think that this is just one beach and that this says nothing of all of the grains of sand in the oceans. OH THE CONTEMPLATION OF IT ALL!!! Who can handle it? From there my mind goes to Psalm 8:3-4:
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?
We think we have so many problems. But what if we saw them from the point of view of our world just being one of infinite little “sand worlds”. How insignificant would our problems seem in the truly grand scheme of things? The thought just makes me feel like we create problems just to feel significant on our little speck. But for some reason, the idea that God is concerned about us still persists.
And that’s when humility kicks in. I realize how little I know. In all of my contemplating I cannot figure out what God is doing from the beginning to the end. I only know what is happening in this moment in the life God has given me on this little grain of sand. And that thought reminds me of what it says in Ecclesiastes 3:11.
God has made everything suitable for its time; moreover God has put a sense of eternity into [our] minds, yet [we] cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
I get comfortable with this awareness and accept that the limits of my understanding even extend into my own life and my thoughts about what it is for. AAAAAAHHHHH. Sweet surrender. I don’t even know much about my own life and I am okay with that. For now I am just supposed to be floating. So I do. The next moment I will be doing something else and I should do it with all of the presence I can muster. I might not know where my actions are leading, but I can know the One who is leading my actions. And maybe that’s what life is all about.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them as yet existed.
How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
I try to count them—they are more than the sand;
I come to the end—I am still with you. –Psalm 139