The ocean has always possessed a kind of power over my soul. I am drawn to it like a honeybee is drawn to a flower, as though I was made to be near it and it was made to feed the person I was created to be. No matter what kind of chaos or emotion or confusion I am facing, peace sweeps over me as soon as I inhale that first breath of ocean air. Calmness equilibrates the whirling within. I must make my way to the ocean.
A few weeks ago, I found myself on my usual run along Sunset cliffs, deep in the Point Loma coastal area of San Diego. My legs had found their natural rhythm and required little thinking or coercion on my part. On my right was the familiar line up of beautiful old and newly remodeled beach homes. On my left was the stunning Mediterranean blue ocean flirting with the red clay cliffs, 50 yards below me. In my right ear I could hear the jolting sounds from a house under construction and the hum of cars passing by, heading toward their favorite surf spot. In my left ear I could hear the rhythmic crashing of waves and the sound of birds flying by.
And I was struck. Struck by the fact that my soul was able to block out the noise from the world and hone in on the singular sound of the ocean waves. And in it’s ever mysterious way, peace made it’s way through my mind and body.
In that moment, I stopped and pulled out my phone and jotted down these words:
No matter how noisy
Still it is with me
Always it is with me
Offering me refreshment
Offering me an anchor for my soul
Running beside the ocean has become a kind of holy experience for me. I’ve come to love it as a place where I am able to hear God’s voice and experience His presence. Annie Dillard said, “I wake expectant, hoping to see a new thing.” And just like Annie, I make my way to the ocean, expectant to hear a new thing, gain new perspective, be transformed in this journey of becoming.
Yesterday, I headed back to the ocean for my run. Drawn. The way I am every time. As I rounded the corner from Point Loma Ave onto Sunset Cliffs, I couldn’t hold back my smile… the beauty of the ocean nearly drowning me in joy. Suddenly I was reminded, yet again, why the ocean means so much to me. God speaks to me through the ocean…
When my eyes take in the ocean’s vastness, I see the freedom He gives to me. When I am overcome by the ocean’s great expanse, I see the depths of His unending love for me. When I breathe in the cool, salty air, I feel the realness of the Life, breath and refreshment He offers my soul.
No wonder why I love the ocean.
Later in the week, I shared my ocean experience with a friend who knows me well, and she challenged me, “What if it represents more? What if it also represents how both tranquility and turbulence can exist together and be breathtakingly beautiful? What if it’s a picture of you?” I hadn’t thought of the ocean in this way and was immediately grateful for her thoughts and questions.
Is it true that calm, sparkling beauty can transform into wild, untamable swirling and STILL possess it’s awe-inspiring beauty?
Something in me says… Yes.
Something in me says… This is who I am.
Calm and Sparkling.
Wild and Untamable.
All of me, beautiful.
Let the ocean speak.
Have you ever experienced God’s voice in this way? How does He speak to you? What images does He use to call to you?