Stumbling for You

Since moving to Padre Island a little over a year ago, Jac and I have fallen into several beach related routines. The one we’ve found the most beneficial physically, mentally and spiritually has been our commitment to a weekly four mile beach walk.

We normally do this on Saturday mornings and always just as the sun is making its way above the horizon of the Gulf waters. It’s quite beautiful and peaceful at this time of day and the photo ops for my shutterbug spouse are hard to resist.

(The pics used for this post are courtesy of one Jacqueline Barrett-Poindexter, Amateur Photog Extraordinaire)

Most of the time our walks are brisk and purposeful with a self-imposed time limit per mile to keep us on track. 

The sand close to the water’s edge is typically hard packed and is just slightly less solid than the concrete quay wall we begin our journey on. 

However, from time to time, one may happen upon a hollow spot in the sand that will find you in a hole up to your knee unexpectedly. It can be dangerous if you’re not paying attention and there’s usually not much in the way of clues before the beach suddenly rises up to meet you.

A few Saturdays ago we were nearing the halfway point in our walk where we turn around when my right foot found such a hole. I went from 6’2” to about 5’6’’ in a millisecond. 

Up to that point, the world had been a peaceful and enchanting place to be.

The sound of crashing waves and the distant cries of seagulls filled my ears. Thoughts of past mistakes and future plans filled my mind. My heart was full of all the possibilities this peaceful stroll afforded and the purple skies promised a breathtaking sunrise.

Suddenly, my right shoe was full of watery sand. The pleasant thoughts that had pervaded every part of my soul were shaken out and replaced with words muttered under my breath that no decent man should repeat in the company of women, children or priests. It took a moment to regain my composure as I was certain every person, bird and fish nearby had stopped what they were doing to take in this spectacle. I walked on, defiantly casting an evil eye over my right shoulder at the crater I had inadvertently created with my size 11 running shoe.

Soon enough, Jac and I reached the pier that was our turnaround spot and started heading back in the direction of our starting point. Nearing the place of the sinkhole I had caused only moments earlier, I noticed a fellow walker coming toward us. As she approached the hole, she quickly sidestepped it and continued on her way. We exchanged a brief hello as we passed one another and I was suddenly struck by the fact that the hole I had caused had quite possibly saved this woman’s life! 

Okay, maybe not her “life”, but certainly the anguish I had felt earlier.

As someone once said, “We are all examples. Some of us are just bad examples.” 

More importantly, it reminded me that my trials and missteps are not always just to teach me a lesson or correct some flaw in my personality.

Sometimes, my life, my purpose, is to create holes as a warning to others not to step here.

Sometimes, my life, my purpose, is to create holes as a warning to others not to step here.

While I certainly wouldn’t suggest going out of your way to be a “bad example” to show how much you care for your fellow man, it is comforting to know that our mistakes can sometimes be the very thing that keeps someone else from stumbling.

Peace (and watch your step)

Roger and Me

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