“Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus…” – John 21:4
For me, the magic of the beach isn’t so much the sand, or the water, or the fresh air, or the natural beauty, as it is the way the shore stands as an invitation to paddle in the margins of eternity, to stand on the edge of the world, to inhabit the place where the spiritual washes up against the mundane, and where the deep blue ocean of possibility beckons the imagination of the soul.
The most consistent thing the shore says to me – other than, “God is so vast and yet so completely accessible” – is this, “Stay on the island for a full month and write your novel, Derek!”
It’s as if I can grasp larger chunks of things out here, bigger ideas, more encompassing themes. I can follow the great arc of the sun from morning till evening, and I don’t have to look to all the other details that so effectively and insistently distract me.
It’s like the hugeness of the ocean, the depth and the breadth of it, pulls me in and joins my consciousness to the unfathomable. There’s no shortage of ideas, or inspiration, or insight – just a shortage of time. So, would the world stop if I got off for a few weeks? I really don’t think so; but it is so very hard to intentionally disengage.
Or, more accurately, it’s something that’s close to impossible to achieve in the real day-to-day world. But not so much out here. Out here the world seems to disengage all by itself.
I know, this all sounds like a contradiction: disengaging with the world so that I can engage my work. But I don’t want to compromise. I don’t want to offer my readers anything less than the very best God intends to speak through me.
Regardless, the experience of being out here – balancing on the edge of the world – inspires me, it fills me up, it challenges me. I guess we’ll have to see where God takes things from here.
Curious – DEREK
(The series of photos below begin on the boardwalk, come down through the sea-oats, then spill over the beach – all while the coffee was brewing Saturday morning)
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.