BEACHES -THE LIFEGUARDS SIT IN THE MARGINS

By Deryn
Nov 23, 2022

Blouberg Beach – Unsplash Charle Fourie

I am coming to the end of this Series on Margins, which has been the theme for the year. I wanted to give a voice to those who have found themselves sidelined and pushed to the margins, mostly through circumstances and things they had no control over.

I wanted to thank each of the people who were willing to share their stories with me. They made themselves vulnerable to my readers sharing their hearts, hurts, and hopes. I hope their stories have given you a small insight into the things they deal with on a daily basis, and a measure of compassion for them. When I look at the teachings of Jesus and how many people, He helped out of the margins by giving them hope and healing. Like Blind Bartimaeus who cried at the edge of the road, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” People tried to shut him down, but Jesus had mercy on him, called him, and healed him. The many women Jesus helped in their predicaments, He never once judged them, but listened and helped.

Beach where the water and earth meet

The Beach where sea and land meet Unshplash – Charle Fourie

Jesus is like the Lifeguard on the beach. Looking for people in distress so He can rescue and help them. To me, the beach is such a beautiful example of a margin. So I will share some thoughts about my favorite beach. Which beach is your favorite beach to walk along the shoreline?

Meditation on Blouberg Beach

When I lived in Cape Town, I would walk along the magnificent Blouberg or Melkbos beaches, where I could gaze across the bay at the iconic Table Mountain. I could see container ships moored in the bay waiting to enter the harbor. I listened to the surf as it beat upon the rocks, watching the rhythm of the waves as they rolled in and receded onto the beach. Sometimes there would be windsurfers riding with waves on their boards and parachutes. On a beautiful day, people sat under umbrellas on the beach; children made sandcastles and played on the water’s edge under the watchful eyes of their parents.

I would love to walk along the high tide mark, looking for shells and other treasures amongst the smelly seaweed, plastic, and other debris thrown up by the waves. Often there would be seagulls picking their way through the debris as well.

Debris on the beach

Debris – Unshplash John Cameron

The beach is where the ocean’s vastness stops, and the immensity of the landmass begins. This place is never static; there is always movement, with the tides coming in and out, the early morning beachcombers and evening lovers leaving their footprints in the sand.

Imagine Yourself Gazing on the Atlantic Ocean Across at Table Mountain

I often come to this beach in my imagination; it is my favorite place to contemplate and commune with God, sitting on a log thrown up in a winter storm years ago. As my thoughts for the year were to explore margins, I thought this was an excellent place to finish. What secret message does the beach hold for us? I gaze at the ocean; vast, scary, and untamable. I am not brave enough to swim or surf in those waves, besides the hidden dangers of the sharks. It is very deep, as the continental shelf drops off steeply. I trust the God who made the ocean to keep it in its bounds; there is nothing that this mere human can do to change a thing with the ocean, except to be a good steward of its fruit and keep it clean.

I look at Table Mountain, the massive sandstone mountain that originated 510 million years ago. I once climbed halfway up this mountain, it is also dangerous, and you need to be with someone experienced to climb it. The best way is to use the cable car. From the top of the mountain, you can see far into the distance where the ocean’s vastness vanishes at the horizon, looking back into the continent of Africa, you see the ranges of the Cape Fold Mountains. I can do nothing to change the landmass; I need to trust God to keep it in place. I can only be a good steward of its fruits and keep the environment clean.

My Responsibilities

Here, sitting on the beach; I can make sandcastles and sift my fingers through the fine white sand. I can pick up the debris and put it in trash bags; I may even find some beautiful shells, smooth sea glass, or rock to collect. I can give the beach ball back to the child who lost it. I can chat with people. Maybe, I have a picnic I can share with someone, or meet up with friends on the beach. The beach is where the Lifeguards sit, making sure everyone is safe. The ice cream vendor and Food trucks sell their wares. This area between two things beyond my control is where I can make a difference.

How Do I See People?

Do I see people as the debris on the beach, tossed around like trash by life’s waves? Or can I be a Lifeguard like Jesus, watching out for them? Do I see if they are getting out of depth, can I be a friend to share a meal, with the outcast, the ‘other?’ As I sit and talk these things over with Jesus, I think of what the Creator of the land and sea would have done. He sailed on the sea and walked on the beach at Galilea. He cooked a meal for his disciples and invited them to come and dine with him. He was generous with his presence and His hospitality.

I get up from my meditation on Blouberg beach with Jesus and muse; how can I help people in the margins of life? Their souls are treasures to be garnered for the Kingdom of God. I cannot change their circumstances or place, but I can look at them through the eye of Jesus as valuable souls. Jesus ‘saw’ people. I can befriend and offer hospitality to the ‘other,’ that most people walk by and consider as ‘trash’ or the debris of life.

CAN I BE A LIFEGUARD TO PEOPLE IN THE MARGINS?

Life uard

Lifeguard – Unsplash – John Cameron

Are there people you consider as ‘trash?’ How can you look at them differently? Imagine yourself having a conversation with Jesus on the beach. Let Him open your eyes to what He sees, and ask Him how you can be their Lifeguard.


I get up from my meditation on Blouberg beach with Jesus and muse; how can I help people in the margins of life? Their souls are treasures to be garnered for the Kingdom of God. I cannot change their circumstances or place, but I can look at them through the eye of Jesus as valuable souls. Jesus ‘saw’ people. I can befriend and offer hospitality to the ‘other,’ that most people walk by and consider as ‘trash’ or the debris of life.
Are there people you consider ‘trash?’ How can you look at them differently? Imagine yourself having a conversation with Jesus on the beach. Let Him open your eyes to what He sees, and ask Him how you can be their lifeguard.

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