August 4, 2021

The three of us, granddaughter Lily, daughter-in-law Kristie, and I, were still at the beach, taking advantage of the cool breeze on the beach before calling it quits for the day. I was under the beach umbrella, and they were catching some rays nearby.

One minute I was peacefully reading a novel, the next thing I knew I was struck on the right side of my face by the wooden pole of the umbrella. I instinctively grabbed the pole as the umbrella flew past. Lily sprang to my aid as I held on to the pole while Kristie wrestled the windblown umbrella to the ground and closed it. Aside from being shocked by the sudden assault and a bit of soreness at the point of impact, I was fine. Lily and Kristie were more upset by the sight of the umbrella knocking me upside the head.

We decided it was time to call it a day. I started to pick up the umbrella to carry it to our beach house, when Lily said with all seriousness, “It doesn’t deserve to be carried after hitting Nana in the head.” I heard her love and concern for me and her determination that I was absolutely not going to carry the umbrella in my injured condition.

Her comment got me to thinking about the word deserve. Inanimate objects are neither deserving nor undeserving. They just are. If there was responsibility to be assigned, it would be shared by humans: the person who put the umbrella in the sand, the owner of the umbrella rental company, the manufacturer, the town of Duck, NC, and me for failure to take it down when the wind blew up.

Most of all, I thought about how big God is, maker of oceans and beaches, wind and cloud, star and sky. Who am I that God is mindful of me, who cares for me, who gives me not what I deserve, but grace?

The One who carries me for love’s sake carries me and you. ~ Anne

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