“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me) it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.” ee cummings
Tonight I’m flying to Florida with my kids to visit my dad and step mom. I’m excited for the obvious reasons–time away, fun with my kids, getting to see my dad (which has been a rare occurrence over the years), but probably I am most excited about seeing the ocean.
The ocean has always been something that has brought me back to center 100%. I think of times in my life when I have felt most like I was flying into a million pieces, and just sitting on the beach, hearing and seeing the waves, gave me a peace and calm like nothing else.
I hate the Christian-y saying that “If you were the only person on earth God still would’ve sent Jesus to die for YOU!” because it sounds so trite and unbelievable and unnecessary. But when I am at the beach, no matter what struggles I may be having or how deep my unbelief, I believe again. I can see God again. And, I confess…I feel like God made the ocean just for me. Just because he knew it would make me happy. I feel at home. I feel like me. I feel whole and complete.
Which is why living in Wyoming was not working for me. (One of the reasons, anyway…)
Some of my favorite books ever have the ocean as a centerpiece. Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. So many Madeleine L’Engle stories have the sea as a major character. I discovered this ee cummings poem (“10”) just this past month when my friend Alex posted it on Facebook and it resonated in the deepest parts of me. I always loved the end of Kate Chopin’s The Awakening when Edna just lets herself be carried away from everything, life even, by the soothing roll of the waves (is that morbid??).
It’s probably trite and cliche to say I love the ocean. And its stupid to think that God made it just for me. There are millions of people on this earth who probably feel the same way about the ocean, I’m certainly not unique or special in that regard. But I like the way it makes me feel when I am there. It is a respite from the rest of life which can get so unmanageable in my head.
When I am an old lady I want to live by the sea in a little cottage with a porch and a rocking chair and an old golden retriever. I want to sit out there with an afghan on my lap and listen to and watch the waves. I want my grandkids and great grandkids to come and see me there. And I want to die with the sound of the waves in my ears. Even if I’m not an old lady when I die I hope it’s with the sound and smell of the ocean surrounding me.
I can’t wait to see the ocean this weekend! I’m going to look for a shell that sings so sweetly I forget all my troubles. And a smooth round stone as small as a world and as big as alone.