High Light at Low Tide

When we woke widely to alarms of morning, squabbling gulls and crows and a squeal from my early bird to enter the fray.

When the sun climbed swiftly the rungs of sky, stepping on fog's fingers until it fell to its demise.

When the tide rolled back the blue tarp, unveiling sand bridges cove to cove, a masterpiece carved by insomniac waves.

When all these joined hands, we were caught in the circle's middle and pulled as willing captives to a morning at the beach.

This was the first day in all our seasons when we saw the sandbar at its highest and the water at its lowest, and it felt like a brand new place.

Wearing the watermarks of every tidal pool we'd passed, my two lined up dripping handed to pull me forward.

"We can get over there to the other side. It's not too deep! C'mon!" Caed tugged.

"C'mon!" Dani echoed.

Not halfway through and the water at Dani's waste, both sister and brother recanted their courage.

"Back! Back!" they shouted. And we all reversed course.

But the appeal of the unprinted sand on the opposite shore was strong, and we'd no sooner turned around, then we were back at it again.

And again we retreated.

And then a third time, but no charm. The tide crept higher to cover markings of morning, and the water grew only deeper.

So we crossed back over sparkled bridges, back to familiar blanket and shore, and eventually home.

A few days later, Caed blurted from the back seat. "Mommy! I thought of something we forgot to try to get us across that water to those other tidal pools."

"We did?" I couldn't imagine what.

"We forgot to pray to God," he offered.

I smiled sideways, lips pursed, a patronizing "how sweet" on the tip of my tongue. Then I pressed, "And how would that have helped us?"

"You know, with power and stuff," he began.

"Like to help us to not be afraid and to do our best?" I suggested.

"Well, more like, because God, well...I think He would have made the water just the right size for me."

He hadn't heard flannelgraphed stories of parted waters or of strides taken above the sea. Yet he already imagined God to be more powerful and personal than my grown-up construct would allow.

He saw no reason God wouldn't resize the Atlantic just for him.
It didn't seem foolish, not to a little boy, that the God who fixed limits for the sea and set its doors and bars in place, who said, "This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt'", that this God could lead him safely across.

I savored his statement of sweet foolish faith, even as I doubted.

Weeks later I still waver between dismissal and belief, all the while knowing I am the foolish one to etch limits around the Limitless. I say "Nothing is impossible!", but retreat to a plausible position, far away from the deep water, as soon as the words escape.

And so I pray.

I pray for faith the size of a mustard seed, or of a little boy, the kind of faith that can move mountains and oceans and a hardened heart like mine.

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