The Sandbox

Matthew 7:26

Not much grows in west Texas, except jackrabbits, rattlesnakes, cactus, and mesquite. In some places, there’s not even mesquite.  In west Texas there is sand, lots and lots of sand. I always wondered why, in other parts of the country, there was such interest in children having a sandbox.  We had miles of it.  There’s no novelty in that.

For several years my Mamaw lived in Odessa. I remember her back yard had no grass, just sandy clay.  My uncle Eddie, my brother David, my cousin Darrell, and I would go back there and play for hours.  We would grab a shovel and dig fox-holes, so we could play soldier.  We got pretty good at it too. Looking back, I was about four feet tall, and the trenches we dug were up to my chin.  From our fox-holes and trenches, we made light work of the enemy.


(photo used by courtesy of TripAdvisor)

Another local attraction was Monahans State Park.  There are six square miles of Sahara-like sand dunes.  In order to prepare for a trip to the sandhills, we would take the leaf out of the formica-top kitchen table and pack it up in the car. We also packed broken down cardboard boxes. Some people took large metal or plastic trash can lids. The amusement was climbing to the top of the hill, getting on your chosen vehicle, and sliding down the dune.  There were usually rich kids there with dune buggies, and I confess to a bit of covetousness and envy.  Motoring up the hill in a souped-up VW Beetle is just way more cool than sliding down in a paper towel box. It seemed the table leaf worked best because we could wax it slick, but there was only one.  I was lower in the pecking order, so I rarely got to use that.  A box or a trash can lid was my lot in life.  Other than that, the only option was to simply roll down the hill, all willy-nilly. That could be fun, too, at least until the dizziness subsided. It was a giant beach, just without the surf.

It was all great fun. Well…not exactly…not really.  We willed it fun, and even that was iffy, at best. The sand got in my eyes, my ears, my nose, my hair, my shoes, between my toes, and down my pants, where it’s nigh impossible to remove. Why, on God’s brown earth, would we want to play in the very substance that vexed our lives every March? I still remember when the west wind would kick up, and there appeared a massive brown wall of dirt, bearing down on us with a slow, steady, ominous pace. When it hit, the sky grew dark, the streetlights came on, and breathing was a chore for the healthiest. David, who suffered from both asthma and allergies, would begin to wheeze and cough.  The dust penetrated every crack and crevice of our home. Walls, windows, and doors were no match for the second-most abundant substance on the planet. When the wind finally died down, there was dust everywhere.

The question remains, what is sand good for? In a quick Bible search I found these options.

  1. Sand is good to illustrate large numbers (Genesis 22:17).
  2. Sand is good for burying Egyptian bodies (Exodus 2:12).
  3. Sand is good for hiding treasure (Deuteronomy 33:19).
  4. Sand is good as a boundary for the sea (Jeremiah 5:22).

What sand is not good for is a house foundation. The aforementioned sand-forts were notoriously unstable.  When I hear on the news the story of some person being buried in a sand tunnel on the beach, my mind always goes back to those days.  More than once, our little fort would cave in.  By the grace of God, we never had the stamina to make them and deep as we wanted to.

For some reason, humans tend to construct their lives on the most unstable of premises. We verbally confess an understanding that money, possessions, careers, and notoriety will all vanish one day. There is only one eternal solid foundation. Build wisely, my friends.

Published in: on March 7, 2018 at 2:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

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