This week I am spending time with two views I love, seeing my family together, and the ocean. Both in one space, makes my heart sing. I also love the mountains and lakes. I grew up heading into the Adirondacks every summer, and lived down the road from Lake Ontario. Nature, especially when it involves water, connects with me. I can feel the stress leave as I listen, and watch water. It has been my happy place since my teen years.
The ocean has been an acquired love. When we first started taking trips to the shore I was antsy and uneasy, but now I need that time. It teaches me how to be still. I love the rhythm of the waves. I wake up early and watch the sunrise, and every time it takes my breath away. It brings forth the doxology from deep in my soul and has to come out. Each sunrise is so different. Sometimes it has been cloudy and I think it will not be so great but the clouds add a different dimension to it.
In the evening I chase down the sunset. There is something about these two rhythms, the ocean and sun that brings extra peace over me. I am reminded of G.K. Chesterton’s words:
“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”
I join God at the beach, and say, “do it again” each morning, and each evening. Children are so fun to watch at the beach as the run in and out of the waves, laughing and giggling, as if the ocean was their personal friend playing tag with them. I feel small at the beach in the best possible way. It helps me to have a better view of life. I think of how God created everything, and setting this all in motion. He gave the ocean its boundaries (Job 38) and told it to come no farther.
The patterns in the sand, the amazing intricacy of the shells, the variety of birds, and creatures declare the glory of the Lord. The other thing the ocean does for me is create expectancy. I go looking for creatures that I would not normally see when I go down to the ocean. I look for the dolphins. I wish and hope to see a whale. Seeing these great creatures so close overwhelms me and washes me with great love.
This past visit we had the privilege of seeing sea turtles migrating. There was something about that that felt so sacred. They have been doing this trip for thousands of years. They know where to go, and I felt like it was a great privilege to peek in on their journey. So now I no longer just look for my dolphins, and wish for a whale, but I look out and wonder what else might be taking a journey by the shores. It reminds me that life is not meaningless or chaotic, that there is a structure, and there is a God who orchestrates all this. He did not have to, but He is a creative God, and He did this out of His good pleasure.
I am so grateful for the views I see at the ocean, but also for the views it helps me see of life. It reminds me how big God is, and how powerful, He spoke all this into existence, and gives it a rhythm and a boundary. He is also about details. The details that are in the tiniest grain of sand are amazing. And then how He meets me there, and chooses to overwhelm me with His presence, and love by showering me with every good gift, makes my heart sing with all of creation:
- Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
- Praise Him, all creatures here below;
- Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
- Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen. (Doxology)
As I sing, I picture C.S. Lewis’ scene at the dawn of Narnia in chapter nine in the Magician’s Nephew, when all the animals are joining Aslan, the Jesus figure, as He calls this world into being, and all of creation joins in the song. It refreshes and excites my soul and reminds me I am part of a bigger story of redemption and restoration and must sing my part.