This pink and orange towel below is the latest acquisition, and it came to me when a former girlfriend left the house with her young daughter. I was supposed to send it on with her remaining personal items, which I dutifully did, folding and packing everything with great care. But I kept this towel out of selfishness. (I am a towel thief!, enfin!)
I did so because I love the colours of it but also, I kept it due to a sentimental streak. I had wanted to keep it because during those brief years I had taught her young daughter to swim, braving the rough surf at the beach. These were joyful times. And afterwards, she would dry herself off with it and wear it as sarong all the way back to the car and fall asleep in the back.
She loved swimming with me, holding my hand as we confronted the large waves, sometimes going under them, sometimes jumping over them. "UNDER" I would yell out to her, or "OVER" at the last minute. This is a rough sea and she couldn't get enough of it, she was like a small seal sometimes slipping out of my hands in the force of the waves, and I would panic. I was never without fear of my great responsibility because people here often die on this beach every year. Sometimes the rip was so strong that we had to abandon swimming much to her displeasure but she couldn't know the danger. She knew only the pleasure, such is the innocence of youth.
But with her mother it was Danger and Pleasure mixed together almost as perilous as the Australian surf. What do we remember of these intimate relationships into which we find ourselves swirling around? What is it about these loves which ebb and swell, pullings you under, dropping you off, sometimes even letting you body surf with bliss between the sheets? Where do these memories dwell?
Inevitably like the dangerous sea, the fickle human heart rules. And too often, there is nothing which remains of the love affair but a towel and a few grains of sand.
Isn't that how God speaks to us of our time on earth?