Sunday, August 23, 2020

What Is It About the Ocean?

 I love the ocean and was able to go there two days in a row this week! 

Yesterday, for my second visit, Sam watched as I stood in the waves shin deep. He’d rather be in a boat fishing than standing on the shore.

As we walked back to the car, he asked me why I loved the beach so much? He said, “You get giddy when I tell you our date is going to the beach. You walk barefoot to the waves, stand in them never deeper than your knees, with your face into the wind. All your goofiness is gone and you are just still. Why?”

I. Don’t. Know. 

There is something so deep within me that is affected and I cannot express it. I can only feel it. But I tried to explain it:

It’s the smell. How do you describe ocean air? That smack of salt mixed with “fishy”. I breathe deeper when I’m at the ocean.

It’s the sound. The whoosh of water as it rushes over itself onto the shore. Even a calm sea is rhythmic and loud and an angry ocean does something to my soul that I just can’t explain. I can’t do anything to change the waves, I just experience them as they come and that settles me somehow. 

It’s the feel. Sand under my feet giving way as I walk or as it is pulled away by a retreating wave. Small smooth stones and the occasional sharp shell under my bare feet. The water lapping against my legs, or crashing into me if it’s a rough sea. 

It’s the sight. Experiencing my insignificance in the expansiveness of a horizon that seems to go for eternity is centering. It’s the visualization that there is a whole lot more than me out there. I could disappear and the ocean wouldn’t change. 

There is a verse in the Bible that talks about heaven having no seas. It has always bothered me because the ocean is where I am most at peace. It’s where I feel like I can get my bearings, my footing, and find my balance. There is a connection there for me that is so very spiritual and I don’t understand it at all. How could heaven be heaven with no ocean, if the beach feels like what heaven should be?

It occurred to me this morning as I was mulling these things (what else does one do when wide awake at 3am?), that perhaps in heaven there are no seas, because God is there. I won’t need to stand in waves, or breathe deeply, or look to the far horizon, to connect with my soul. In His presence eternally, I will feel like I am at the ocean all the time. And with that thought I long for heaven even more.

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