I took a day off yesterday to go to the beach. I haven’t had a real beach day for close to 5 years and my heart has been crying for one, but it’s just not fun to go alone. Every year I talk about it, and every summer ends with the disappointment that I didn’t make it to the beach. Again.
So, when the opportunity arose, I jumped. My schedule was rearranged and my lunch was packed.
Emotions flooded my mind as we walked through the tunnel under Pacific Coast Highway and reached the sand. The beautiful, wonderful, warm soft sand. I brought along the usual “things to do” for a beach day: magazines, book, journal, phone and even some work, along with my swim fins and a towel.
And then my niece and I decided to walk down the beach to look for life in the tide pools.
As we were hopping from rock to rock, she suddenly put her sandals down and started dancing. And singing. And leaping, and twirling. On what little patch of sand there was between the outcropping of rocks, my little joyful Jenna saw her opportunity and she couldn’t contain it. So she danced.
I moved closer to catch a better glimpse of her joy… and she was TWIRLING!
I’m ashamed to admit I can’t remember the last time I danced, or twirled like that. Or even hummed a tune without there being some professional version of it playing in the background.
Just me sending my voice into the atmosphere? Nope. Not in years. Just me dancing and twirling for the joy of it? Nope again.
As I watched her joyful outburst, I was saddened that I wasn’t more like her. I’ve let the cares of my world and my pursuit of all the good things get in the way of pure joy. But the thing is, being surrounded by that kind of joy is contagious.
I smiled as I thought of all the ways I could prompt myself to twirl and dance. How I could learn to push aside that pursuit now and then and just BE. How I could enjoy life, instead of hurrying through it.
Twirling is not so much an act, as it is an attitude. Especially for grownups like me.
It occurs to me I don’t need to be spinning in the grocery store, arms flailing, to be able to see the beauty of a young mom and her laughing baby. I don’t need to sit on the beach watching the fun. I can join in. I can choose to twirl.
The shore breaking waves were not right for body surfing, so I had the thought to stay in my chair on the sand, but when my nephew Jack coaxed me into jumping in the waves by saying, “C’mon! It’s just not fun without you!” it was time to twirl. We laughed so much, Jack said his new nickname for me was going to be “Mrs. Fun Time.” Really. I’m gonna have to hang out with kids more often.
Mrs. Fun Time. It’s got a lovely ring to it. And I guarantee you, living up to that name involves more twirling.
When’s the last time you twirled?
“Let them praise his name with dancing
and make music to him with timbrel and harp.”