Three years ago, in early March, Tim and I took our first vacation alone together since becoming parents. We rented a little condo in Ocean City, NJ with a view of the beach and an off-season price tag.
For five days we talked, strolled, read, and napped. Bundled in winter gear, we walked the deserted beach, discussing past, present, and future until the ocean breeze numbed our lips and noses.
We ate crockpot beef stew, warmed our toes by the fire, and played gin rummy. We explored an empty boardwalk, bought saltwater taffy from Fralinger’s, and snuggled on a weather-worn bench while seagulls hunted treasure in the incoming tide.
Blissful solitude. A summer resort town in the dead of winter is unquestionably an introvert’s paradise, but our purpose in going there wasn’t only to find peace and quiet. We were searching for something, longing to withdraw from the business of life and look inward – together – in search of honest answers to hard questions.
- How are we doing spiritually?
- What’s working in our marriage/family/business/life…and what’s not?
- Are we discipling our children, or just reacting to them?
- Why do we feel so overwhelmed and joyless?
- What are we missing?
We were burdened, weary, and uncertain. Some of the heaviness came from an adoption process we had yet to complete, but I know now that was only a portion. I know because Tim and I have returned to that same beachfront condo the past two years—most recently last weekend—and each time we’ve arrived more burdened than before.
Midlife crisis? Burnout? However you label it, life feels turbulent and intimidating. We crave vision, pray for guidance, seek purpose—but answers are slow in coming.
Each time we take these trips, I rise early to watch the waves while Tim sleeps. I sit in a chair by the window, tea in hand, tracing the water’s course as it swells, peaks, and finally crashes to the sand.
I see our life in those waves—gliding toward shore at a speed we cannot slow; pressure rising beneath, pushing us into forms we cannot sustain. We are cresting, on the verge, ready to break. Not just ready—eager. For release. For a destination. Yet, we wait.
What should we do with this tension? Is it a sacred wait, or does cowardice blind us to the direction for which we’ve prayed?
Has God already given us the answers, or has He instead given us a holy discontentment and asked us to stand at attention a bit longer?
This isn’t a post where I pose a problem and follow up with a solution, because I don’t have a solution right now. I only know this tension isn’t unique to Tim and I. We’ve heard whispers, caught glimpses, sensed an underlying question mark in those around us.
Are we all searching?