I have been visiting Holcombe Beach in South Devon since before I could walk. I have a photograph from 1960 of my grandfather with me on the sea wall. I also have many photographs I have taken of the beach during numerous visits since my parents retired to Holcombe, thereby providing a cheap and excellent holiday location for family and friends. This summer while walking on the beach I was looking up at the railway tunnel when I noticed what appeared to be a pillbox just by the tunnel entrance. Although the pillbox blends into the cliff and the jumble of rocks and concrete designed to protect the railway from the winter storms, the pillbox isn’t really hidden. It is in every photograph I have taken viewed towards the railway tunnel. I just never noticed it before.
Something else I noticed on Holcombe Beach for the first time last year was the multitude of hermit crabs running across the seabed in an inch of water at low tide. They were there this year too, and John (my youngest son) and I spent hours searching for the hermit crabs last summer and again this year. We took great pleasure in watching their antics, especially as three fought over a particular shell.
The pillbox and the crabs got me thinking about how many hidden treasures I fail to notice every day of my life. Not just in the God-made, but in the man-made, and in people. Every day I miss the intricate details of life, and every day I miss God-given opportunities of many kinds. Somehow life gets in the way. The shutters come down over my eyes and my ears, and I fail. I fail because God wants me to see creation, people, and things as He sees them. I fail because God wants me to be a greater participant and a bigger contributor, because He chose me for each moment, and He chose each moment for me. He is intimately involved in my life. Each time I see, hear, feel, or sense something that has previously eluded me, I am reminded of the infinity of God, and the still quiet voice that whispers through everything, “I love you.”
From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being. Acts 17:26-28 (NIV)