Beach, blessings and storms

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The beach is my happy place. It’s where I remember who God has called me to be, reconnect with my inner child and find peace in tough times. In a lot of ways, it’s my church. I walk on the shore with thanksgiving and praise.

I plan to buy a beach house someday. It will have big windows that let in natural light, a view of the ocean and a comfortable chair on the front porch where I can drink my morning coffee and watch the waves roll in. There’ll be space for my family to visit and children to play and be free. I go to work every day with this goal in mind.

I’ve shared this dream with many people over the years and have been met with various responses. A lot of people feel it’s their obligation to tell me about the pitfalls of owning a home on the beach. Their concerns are valid, but so are my dreams.

Beach houses are expensive. I check out beach real estate and watch “Bargain Beach Hunt” on a regular basis to keep me motivated when I’m feeling a little lazy, and the cost of those homes are at least five times as much as my current house. Insurance rates are astronomical. And journalism is a vocation people enter because of passion, not paychecks. It seems far-fetched to have such ambition, but I do. I know that I don’t have to sacrifice living well in order to live frugally. I don’t need a lot of material things to be happy. I like to work, and I enjoy saving money.

Beach people are weird. Well, so am I. I like meeting new people, listening to their stories and finding out how we ended up crossing paths. Strange people are interesting. I really don’t have a lot in common with normal folks. I don’t get them, and they don’t get me. Plus, I’ve never seen an unhappy person at the beach.

The storms are brutal. Yes, they are. They can’t be avoided. If needed, people seek shelter inland to protect themselves during a storm. The hurricanes roar at the beach, damaging and destroying homes, and it takes time to rebuild. But people rebuild their homes. They build them stronger, with better materials and firmer foundations.

If I’ve saved and sacrificed to have my beach house, integrated myself in a community of weird folks who get my weirdness and love me, and have actually been blessed to see my dream come to life, then I’m also going to do the work to rebuild if and when the storms come.

I am not afraid of storms. They’re a part of life. They’re a part of our story and should be embraced instead of concealed. The potential for storms will not keep me from working toward my dreams.

I look forward to my daily walks on the shore. I look forward to watching children play and fellowshipping with my family while watching the ocean. I can’t wait to put my bare feet up on my comfortable front porch chair, wrap myself in a blanket and watch the waves roll in. I look forward to worship at the sea.

LaMonique Hamilton Barnes is a reporter and copy editor for The Wilson Times. She blogs about arts and culture at iamlamonique.com.