It's required gear. It's orange. It had to be orange. It's funny shaped, but it is required gear when heading to coast. The treasured sand bucket makes its way back and forth from the beach to the hotel in the arms of the strongest man and the smallest child. It's a must.
Why does this oddly shaped plastic container get so much attention? Families gather around it, laugh because of it, design using it, and spend priceless moments with each other filling it up with gifts from the sea.
30 years ago, my oldest son awakened me early one morning before sunrise. His sand bucket was in one hand and his ball cap in the other. "Mom, wake up, let's go look for sea shells," he whispered.
We quietly left the hotel trying not to awaken his little brother and sister, and the one we lovingly call, "sleepy underwear man." I grabbed a mug of coffee and we flip flopped our way down the splintered boardwalk onto the squishy sand. The sun gave us a wink through the clouds, and the treasure hunt began.
He quickly ran along the foamy coastline grabbing every little shell he could find.
We placed our treasures in the sand bucket with exuberance! If we were gathering finds from the ocean for financial survival, we would have starved that day, because pickings were slim. The ocean was a little stingy with the morning tide.
However, the sand bucket became heavy anyway, not with shells, but with priceless treasure. Every time I see a sand bucket I remember the treasure it beheld that hot July day in 1995. A golden moment in time with a skinny little boy in an orange and blue bathing suit with big brown eyes, and a smile that still melts my heart.
It became a regular thing for just the two of us to seek treasure with the bucket in tow. A few summers later, we found over 30 fresh hermit crabs that refused to come out of their shells due to all my screaming! We scooped them into the sand bucket and carried them home. Oreo, the cat, loved her bucket of souvenirs even though they were a little crunchy.
Oh the treasure of memory! God not only created you and me in His image, but within these frail bodies we live in, we are born to remember. In real moments of time and through our current working memory, we can fill our sand buckets in this life with living breathing treasures of cherished moments with family over and over again.
However, there must be more. Even more valuable is the treasure of spending time with God. He meets us through His word and fills the bucket in our souls over and over again. God is not stingy with his children. All we have to do is bring our bucket and avail ourselves to spending time with Him. He will fill us to the brim, and our hearts will overflow with the real treasure, Jesus. (Matthew 6:19) The ultimate treasure is an eternal home in heaven! I just hope the sand crabs aren't waiting on us when we get there!