You know when you reserve a beach house from looking at photos online, you never really know exactly what you will get.
After a day in the car, as soon as our gang pulled in the driveway at our new casa for the week, we all stumbled out of our bursting Suburban and looked for the water. It's what we came all this way for anyway, right?
Walking down the picturesque stroll (per the website's description) we saw ahead of us the shore and the ocean. Hooray! Upon closer inspection we realized the waves were not exactly crashing onto the sand as we had imagined. Oh and there was land on the other side, faraway but visible nonetheless. Wait, this wasn't the ocean, exactly. It was an inlet.
Honestly, I was a little disappointed.
I like the endless vast view into nothingness that the ocean provides. I didn't want to see land at all. Even if it was the rather interesting Fort Pulaski.
And the waves seemed a little lackluster. Where were those white caps? Where was the distinct, repetitive, soothing sound of water smacking sand over and over and over?
I think Riley was a little bummed too. There were not many people wandering on this part of the shore. (And by many people, I think she was looking for boys. You know, like all the Disney shows portray a beach vacation.)
So I held a bit of secret sadness in my heart. I found myself wishing for what we didn't have, longing to be somewhere just a little bit better.
(Hmmm. Does anyone know where this is going?)
The second day at Tybee gave me a little more perspective though. We headed over to the "it" beach. The one with the pavilion with ice cold drinks, sidewalk shops, huge waves and hordes of people.
It was not all we expected. Nor all we desired.
Bergen was terrified of the waves. He just ran away from them. And cried. Loudly. Not what I would call fun for the family. Piper took her cues from him. Well, the loud crying part. Not the running. She just stood still while the waves hit. Crying. Loudly. Let me repeat - not fun for the family. We couldn't let Wilder rest in his stroller for fear of his body colliding with a tossed football or running strangers. Who were everywhere. A drunk stranger sat down beside Riley and I on a bench one night. He - uh - invaded our personal space. And he smelled funny.
So the beach I thought I had really wanted, the beach I was disappointed not to discover at our front door, was not the beach I thought. It was not the beach we needed.
In fact, what we needed, what fit our family to a tee, was right down our picturesque stroll. Where it had always been. Where we were supposed to be. All along.
And the last day, on our very own little inlet, the dolphins I had talked about seeing all summer appeared in abundance for us. More than twenty of them. Splashing near us. Frolicking. For us. Unexpected. Beautiful.
Just what we needed.
Funny how God provides. On vacation. In our lives. Not exactly what we planned. Not granting our every wish or fulfilling our every desire. Instead, knowing us better than we know ourselves, He keeps giving us just what we need.
Sometimes when we don't even ask for it.
Usually when we protest it.
What He knows we need.
And how much better it all looks when we come around to His way of thinking.