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Anxiety has riddled my heart these past seven months in NYC, and let me tell you, the fear and stress that have overflowed into my everyday life have not been pretty. I arrived home in Florida on Saturday yearning for peace and from the rush and grind of the ceaseless city.  As long as I can remember, I’ve always come to the beach or walked to the lake near my parent’s house to sit in silence and solitude: praying sometimes, but mostly just listening and standing still, at peace. If God had something to say to me, I’d be there listening, waiting, resting. The city, by nature of being a city, puts a damper on attempted silence or solitude.

I think most people have a hard time standing still–even for a few moments–regardless of living in a big city. When you are still you are forced to turn around (this time, to the inside) and face what truly lies in your heart, however deep or dark that may be.  Sometimes this introspection can be pure freedom and joy and delight, but oftentimes it is terror, guilt, fear, and shame.

Today, in my solitude on an empty beach, I was confronted on one hand by my own insecurity about the abilities that I have, and on the other hand, by a need for beauty and a craving to do something semi-creative. I took my camera, ten minutes out of my solace, and looked up from the shells on the ground to see beauty surrounding. This is what I saw:

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And then the rain poured down in a glorious thunderstorm symphony.