To choose the perfect sandcastle from my childhood would prove a daunting task. So many fond memories of golden days spent at the beach; days recalled more preciously with the passing of time and distance. Oh, what I wouldn’t do to have a tall, ice-cold glass of “the morning of my life” drink. You see, growing up in the eastern part of Long Island rewarded you with a vast assortment of beaches to visit. My mom would pack our bags, and we would head off to Sunken Meadow, Jones Beach, Heckscher, or Eisenhower State Park. I couldn’t wait to head down to the beach and feel sand everywhere! Under my bare feet, underneath my fingernails, even in my swimsuit. Seemingly just a pile of microscopic grains, sand has a boundless potential of creating almost anything, and knowing that I was the architect was so thrilling!
The unfolding of the unknown was a beautiful thing to me. I would start to build my castle soon after high tide in order to allot the maximal amount of time before the tide returned to sweep my work away. Each time I completed a castle, I was awestricken at my work. And yet, even so, I never looked back when my mother told me to pack up our belongings and head home. I didn’t care if the waves washed away my castle or anyone destroyed my work. Even at a young age, I really understood that the glory was in the doing; that my creating a sandcastle—however temporary the physical structure—was fulfilling enough for me.
Now faced with living in the afternoon of my life, I wonder what happened to the little girl who found glory in the doing.
It is challenging to ask oneself if daily efforts feel as sufficiently rewarding now when you consider the adult-size waves and passersby that destroy one’s work.
Do I continue to devote myself to doing good work and enjoying it? I know that the greatest purpose I have in life is to love and care for others, but in this corrupted world, how can I love genuinely without begrudging others for their wrongdoings, passing judgments, and seeking expectations? We can all attest to the fact that some of the things people do are unquestionably evil, grimy, and morally unethical. And how uncomforting it is that, in response to these concerns and situations, we often hear the old cliché: “All you need is love.” Could it be that easy? Yeah right, we answer ourselves.
Still, let us imagine that life is like a sandcastle. Each original construction takes time and energy while, despite whatever features it possesses, the sand castle must inevitably face the test of waves and destructive powers. And despite the efforts put forth, we unarguably accept this bittersweet outcome since the tides will never change and the beach will never be exclusively ours for the holding. Is this ideology not similar to love? Do we not give of ourselves wholeheartedly to some, despite the occasional pain and anguish we receive in return? What a powerful current we would be if we communally devoted our lives to bringing well-being to others simply for the beauty of it!
What a powerful current we would be if we communally devoted our lives to bringing well-being to others simply for the beauty of it!
You have to admit that when we become inspired to live life this way, we no longer anticipate a destination. Judgments, prejudices, and hatred no longer exist, and love, yes that thing called love, is what remains and prevails. Does not everyone covet a desire to be the recipient of an endless flow of love? I believe, in embracing these concepts, there could be no finer way to live.
Reflecting on the little girl who got excited about her limitless creation of castles in the sand, I thank her for teaching me love. I realize that I can find joy in “just doing” while letting life shape, mold, and restructure the grains of my heart.
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