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Sand and Sea and Prayer

By: John Dacey on September 8th, 2022

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Sand and Sea and Prayer

Celebrating family life

When my father-in-law retired, he spent considerable time in his basement workshop. He became a skilled woodworker, crafting many projects that he generously gifted to family members. Some of his most delightful endeavors were wooden toys for his grandchildren – a cradle, trucks, planes, cars, a dollhouse, a toy train, boats, and many more. His great-grandchildren now enjoy the toys; they keep them in the box he also made. Things we treasure have a way of enduring.

grandfather-and-grandson-making-a-car-from-wood-picture-id1168193290One of his constructions was a sandbox painted bright red and yellow. It had benches and a large cover to shield the box from woodland creatures and heavy rain. I could not even guess how many happy hours the little ones spent sifting and shaping, plowing and pouring, smoothing and raking. I remember watching our children intently playing with pails, small shovels, and colorful molds. With water added, the sand became a sculpting adventure. The sandbox became a creative exploration, an out-of-doors studio of self-expression.

You can learn a lot in a sandbox, collaboration, creativity, fine motor skills, and more. While the sand constructions do not last, what we learn endures.

“The sand of the seashore, the drops of rain,
the days of eternity: who can number these?”
(Sirach 1:2)

It seems we never outgrow our fascination with water and sand.

We are blessed in our region with miles of shoreline, many beaches, and beautiful vistas of ocean waters. I never tire of taking in the view. I always feel restored.

We learn from the Gospels that Jesus spent part of His public ministry around the Sea of Galilee. He called several fishermen whose livelihoods relied on the sea to be among His closest followers (Mark 1:16f). I wonder what drew Jesus close to the sea and if the wind and water restored Him? I wonder if He ever invited His followers to experience the Father’s creative, ever-present, infinite love in the movement of the waters?

Jesus walked on the water (John 6:19), calmed the storm (Mark 4:39), taught from a boat (Mark 4:1), directed His companions where to fish (Luke 5:4), and prepared a meal on the shore (John 21:12).

When we pray with our families, we might ask the Lord to walk with us, to quiet the storms in our lives, to learn from Him, to point us to where the harvest is abundant, and, of course, to satisfy our hunger. 

About John Dacey

John Dacey is a retired Catholic high school teacher. He has taught Scripture, Ethics, and Social Justice. He enjoys being in the company of family, reading in the field of spirituality, and gardening. John and his wife have been married for more than 40 years and have two children and four grandchildren.