My God place - Catholic Courier
The sun sets at Ontario Beach Park in Charlotte in early September. The sun sets at Ontario Beach Park in Charlotte in early September.

My God place

October has arrived, and that means I’m probably heading up to Ontario Beach Park in Charlotte sometime soon. I’m funny like that: As everyone else heads indoors, I emerge to pace along the shore by myself.

It seems like just yesterday I was 5 years old, digging away with a sand shovel on that same Rochester beach with my friend Sammy. We were only a couple miles from home but I distinctly remember feeling I was in a completely different, awesome world, listening to the waves and seeing the foghorn in the distance.

Charlotte is where I’ve taken numerous dates, eaten dozens of custards, walked miles and miles of pier. More recently, I’ve made tons of trips to the park playground with my three kids.

It’s also a sacred space for my alone time — better put, my time with God. When the beach is otherwise practically deserted during the colder months, I’ve at times been a solitary figure cradling a mug of java, walking in all kinds of weather and talking right out loud to God.

Oh, the things God and I have covered: relationships, career, hurts, joys. It’s the place I’ve most often asked, "What is your will? How would you like me to live my life?"

I don’t take those hikes very often, but when I do, it’s usually because life has become overwhelming and I need a refuge. Ontario Beach is certainly no Myrtle Beach or Key West or Cancun, but it’s a place I can count on and is beautiful in the eye of this beholder. Nearly 50 years after first discovering the Charlotte area, I’m still pulled there by a force that’s not always easy to put into words.

Very simply, I guess, it’s home. And it’s my God place.

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