Life never leaves us alone, not for a minute. We think we have it all under control, we remember the lessons we learned in Classroom Management and Interventions for Severe Behavior Problems–a class in which we got an A–which was designed to teach us to never let a problem escalate, to always stay in control of the self. Yet still, despite how much we know and remember, we have a tendency to fail.

And after failure, we sit on a log on an ugly beach and start feeling like another piece of the garbage lying upon the beach–something the wind and waves haven’t carried off, something the cliff swallows nesting on hillside above will not be using for their nests. Yet, we hope. Annie Dillard wrote that we receive grace like a man trying to fill a cup in a waterfall.

Indeed.*

I’m like the beach upon

which I sit

Staring, aghast. Sand mottled with

Debris, detritus, and grit

Is unpleasant to behold, unsightly,

Dirty and cold.

My eyes–as anyone’s–are starved for

beauty here; grace.

For there is only ruin here

In this place.

I am an ugly, untended

Beach strewn

With sticks and rope and bottles;

Garbage left over from June.

I am littered with butts, straws,

Cans and mold.

My only hope is the waves small,

Beating a hasty retreat–

No more anxious to stay on the beach

Than tiny feet.

I am an ugly Lake Erie

Beach, not a white

Sand paradise whose water

Clear and bright

Lingers close to shore–or

So I’m told.

Dirty beach that I am I call out:

“Break, O Wave, upon this place.

“Break upon this beach, separate me

“From litter, dirty me with grace.”

*Sorry for the formatting. There are three stanzas. I hope you can figure out where they are, I couldn’t get the extra space to stay.

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