We vacationed on the Washington coast last week. This marks our sixth or seventh visit to the lovely community of Seabrook. As an extended family, we feel like we’ve hit the sweet spot. Whether you’re six or sixty-something, there’s an activity or an amenity for everyone. Most of us prefer a slower pace, basking in the warm sunshine on the porch with a breathtaking view of the Pacific. Of course no trip to the beach would be complete without several treks at low tide to dip toes in the frigid water or search for washed-up crabs.
The respite from every day living forces us to live differently here. We linger over conversations at the table instead of rushing off to complete the next task. While we all struggled to intentionally disconnect from social media, there was still plenty of time for puzzles and board games, a swim in the pool, or ladder golf out on the lawn.
I don’t know if it’s the raw, rugged beauty surrounding this little hamlet on the bluff or just clever marketing, but we really enjoy coming here and look forward to our trip every year. I’m convinced all that salt-tinged air triggers something in our brains that makes us long for Seabrook the other fifty-one weeks of the year.
But something felt different this time. Perhaps it’s the ongoing construction of new homes, more quaint shops going in at the town center, or the architectural renderings of all that’s yet to come with the planned expansion. Apprehension threaded my observations. Please don’t ruin it. When is enough … well, enough?
I love Seabrook so much I’ve written a novel set here. It’s lingered on my hard drive for several months and I’m re-working it now in preparation for crafting a series later on. Usually I take a lot of pictures and revisit them throughout the year, often relying on the images to provide details for the story line. But I took very few pictures this time, lamenting to my husband, ‘I just keep trying to take pictures of the same old things and they never turn out as nice as I want them to.’
I’ve given this attitude a lot of thought over the past few days. The underlying truth in those statements didn’t sit well with me. It seems to be a symptom of a larger problem: a prevailing attitude that if things aren’t exactly the way I want them to be, then life isn’t enjoyable.
In short, I’m sabotaging my own happiness with unreasonable expectations.
When is enough … enough?
Please don’t misunderstand me. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to capture the beauty around us. God’s creation is beautiful. Awe-inspiring. Time spent on the coast always makes me more aware of how big He is and how small I am. And this time, He used our annual trip to the beach to gently remind me that He is in control, even if He’s stretching me beyond my comfort zone. His ways are not my ways and this involves waiting when I’d prefer instant gratification. While living in a hard season, I’m learning to rely on Him. Leaning hard on His promises that He is ever faithful, no matter my present circumstances or short-sighted view of my surroundings.
Instead of taking my own pictures, I received the gift of wonderful photos taken by others. The following images were all emailed to me in the last couple of days or shared on social media. I took it as a reminder that we each see the beauty around us a little differently. It’s all a matter of perspective.
My sister took this fun shot of our youngest drawing in the sand with his toe. The facial expression and posture perfectly captures him in this season of life.
The trees are so unusual here and make excellent subjects for photos. All credit for this shot goes to my niece, Allie.
The sunsets are my favorite part of the day and the ideal image to close out this post. I’m grateful for another visit to one of my favorite places, priceless memories made with my family, and the lessons learned along the way.
Very nice post, Heidi. I have to agree about the Washington Coast. It’s very beautiful and relaxing. Living in Lynden, WA, we have very quick access to the water and we usually hit Birch Bay as the tide is going out and allow it to push back as it returns. They are nice, full, relaxing days on the beach.
Heidi McCahan says
The Washington Coast is stunning, isn’t it? I haven’t spent a lot of time around Lynden, but my visits to Anacortes are always enjoyable. The bridge at Deception Pass (I hope I have that right) is one of the prettiest places I’ve visited. Thanks for commenting, I appreciate it.
Thought-provoking post, Heidi. I totally understand the mixed feelings, both about the change and development of your vacation paradise, and about wanting vacations to be perfect–which they never are! I struggle with letting go and just enjoying what’s happening, too. Looking forward to your Seabrook novel…where everything CAN be perfect and just as you want it to be!
Heidi McCahan says
Thank you, Lee, for your encouraging words. Yes, I do enjoy crafting those happily ever afters. Blessings!
Valerie Comer says
We spent three weeks on the Pacific in June (on Vancouver Island) and I so agree about the sea-tinged air. If we didn’t have three little grandgirls and… oh yeah… hubby’s job!!! to keep us further east, we’d move in a heartbeat.
Heidi McCahan says
I’m a beach girl for sure, Valerie. We aren’t in a position to make that move or maintain a second residence but I totally get why so many artists retreat to the coast. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Vancouver Island is on my bucket list.
Autumn Macarthur says
It looks wonderful! But change, especially of somewhere or something or someone we loved just as they were, can be a challenge to accept. Nice realisation to turn that over to God :)