dirt.

I’ve never seen the ocean.

Not the real ocean anyway. I went to the Texas gulf coast when I was very young, but don’t remember much of it. And really, it’s the Texas gulf cost, so it’s one of those things you’d rather not remember.

Lately, I have been having dreams of the ocean – of finding a piece of sand and sitting there until I can’t sit and stare at the horizon any longer.

~ ~ ~

This week, one of my dearest friends trekked down to the gulf coast and she has to continually remind me that Galveston does not count as the ocean. I beg her for photo after photo of the salty earth and the never approaching horizon.

“I’ll try to find some that doesn’t look like dirty,” she tells me.

She tried. Sent me a few photos.

“This is not what your dream looked like.”
“It didn’t look like this, either.”

She was right. The water was brown. The ground dirty. Even the columns anchored on the beach bearing up the walkways seemed stained with mucky earth.

Then I saw it. Sure it had been rung through filter after filter. Blues painted along the left. Hues of yellow and green splashed toward the right. And a ferris wheel. Nestled on the pier stretching out over the water. It was beautiful.

“I had to filter the heck out of it just to make the water not dirt.”

Dirt.

My mind jumped. A visceral reaction to the word.

Dirt – Made the blind man see.

Dirt – Witnessed the release of the woman caught in adultery. 

Dirt – Washed from filthy feet by the hands of God himself. 

That is the thing about dirt, I suppose.
Maybe it doesn’t make all things beautiful. Like oceans.
But it can be beautiful.

Maybe it is often ignored that dirt and oceans, though entered into completely different beauty pageants, have something in common after all.

The power to heal. 

The power to set free. 

The power to lift your face and sing the simple refrain over you –
“You are loved. You are loved. You are loved.”

 ~ ~ ~

I will see the ocean this year. I will find a nice square of sand and I will sit. I will sit and stare at the never approaching horizon until the last hint of sunlight has drained from the sky. I will plunge my hands into the sand surrounding me. Running it’s sticky grains through my fingers, I will bring up handful after handful of earth just as a reminder of the power carried in these very tiny rocks.

And I will not be afraid. 

I will not be afraid of the dirt or the texture. I will not let my anxiety or OCD steal the wonder from my eyes. I will not be afraid of the time spent sitting and I will not be afraid of the dirt staining my pants. I will not be afraid of the mess.

Instead, I will marvel. I will sit there, in the middle of the mess, and I will heal. I will be set free. And I will rest under the refrain – “You are loved. You are loved. You are loved.”

For those few moments, all will be okay.

And the dirt will make it beautiful.

"I had to filter the heck out of it just to make the water not be dirt" @ronnerock

“I had to filter the heck out of it just to make the water not be dirt” @ronnerock

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4 thoughts on “dirt.

  1. This post is beautiful! Your words simultaneously stir my soul and settle my heart. You capture that tension of what it is like to live in the now, in the messiness of a life being transformed. I love the way you see and I love the way you write. Thank you.

  2. Allison, almost every time I read what you write it makes me want to cry, not out of sadness but out of hope and encouragement! This is so good. “Instead, I will marvel. I will sit there, in the middle of the mess, and I will heal. I will be set free…” Yes, dirt can be beautiful, after all! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Dirt…..
    I grew up on a farm and to us dirt was a major part of our lives. We turned it over and we planted in it. We chopped grass and weeds out of it to protect the main crops. Sometimes we walked in our bare feet in the dirt to feel it cool upon our soles. To be caked in dirt meant we had worked a good hard day. Sometimes we turned the dirt over and left it alone for a year so it could refresh itself with nutrients for our crops. The dirt was red and sometimes it felt like it was that way because we had poured our hearts into the farm.
    In dirt we bury that which we hope will grow and sustain us but when we are no more we bury ourselves in it. Life burst forth from dirt at the same time it consumes death. Dirt will always cling to us and us to it.

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