Last week I got to have a "last thrill of the summer" on a beach trip with some of my favorite people and their families. We laughed, we talk, we ate - just a great time to catch up.
I love going to the beach but honestly don't love getting in the ocean. I love planting an umbrella and setting up my beach chair, digging my toes into the cool sand, and grabbing a good book. I love monitoring the ocean - I want it to keep it's space and I'll keep mine. I love the feel of the breeze and the days it is cool enough to need to wrap your towel around you in the shade.
But as a person who sits on the sand and rarely hits the water, I experience a lot of people watching, game playing, and sandcastle building. My husband is a great sandcastle builder, so it was always him that did this with our kids. I really enjoyed sitting back and quietly watching them have fun together and build their own memories.
One year they built a particularly big castle, with a moat and some extra thrills. We could see it from our rental's deck and as dusk started to fall, we continued to watch. People started to make their evening strolls and bike rides and it was fun to watch their reactions when they noticed our sandcastle. But at one point, a kid came along and just started tearing it all down. My kids were so sad, even knowing the waves were coming for it soon enough. In no way was this a permanent structure; sandcastles are meant to return to the sea. Still - it was a little heartbreaking to watch something that gave you joy, that took your time and was molded by your love, be torn down in minutes. There was something a little painful and jagged about watching a stranger kick down your sandcastle.
I come back to this moment from time to time. In my life, I have to come to realize there are two kinds of people - those who build up and those who tear down.
The question is - which one are you?
We all have our days where we aren't at our best, and we all have days we'd frankly like to kick something a lot more solid than a sandcastle. But in general - how are you living? Are you a person who builds foundations? Or are you a person who constantly destroys the work of others? Are you a person who shares encouragement? Or are you a person who is always complaining? Said in a different way, are you a fountain or a drain?
Every once in a while we need to take a reset, and really ask ourselves some difficult questions. Let today be that day. We always have choices to make. May your decisions be lead by what truly reflects the person you are and want to become.