“The waves of the sea help me get back to me.” - Jill Davis
It does not matter where I am in the world, when I find the sea, I find joy and I find rest. You can see it in my expression. Nothing brings me peace quite like the ocean. From the many shades of blue and green, to the sound of the waves crashing, and the sometimes gentle, sometimes powerful wind to the smell of the salty air. This is my resting place. I am in my element.
Isnt it ironic (don’t you think?) that when I was young, I was terrified of the ocean? I think it was the sound of the crashing waves that frightened me. I did, however,thoroughly enjoy playing in the sand and searching for “sea glass” and sea shells. I would collect the biggest ones I could find and paint pictures on them. I can remember though, the pivotal point in which I conquered my fear of the ocean. It was one summer, likely in the early nineties, my two neighborhood friends and I were headed down the shore. Sarah, Heather and I, were sitting in the back of Debbie’s minivan, jamming out to Alanis Morrisette. We were headed to the Jersey Shore, Manasquan beach to be exact. Little did I know I was about to overcome the waves that day.
It was low tide, so the sand bars were in our favor that day. We were able to walk for several yards before the water reached our wastes. Sounds like a breeze huh? Every step we took further into the sea was both terrifying and exhilarating. I was so scared to be out that far in the ocean, but I took each step with pride! I was too shy and embarrassed to admit my fear of the water to my fiends. But at the end of the day, I was thankful for my timidity in those moments. When we came back from our time boogie boarding, I was thrilled! I couldn’t wait to tell my mom just how far into the ocean I went that day. I had conquered my fears!
So perhaps my small triumph that day is one reason why I love the beach so much. I was learning how to overcome my fears in order to experience something great. One can’t truly overcome her fears without looking them in the face!
This past summer I spent a lot of my free time at the Jersey Shore. I had my Friday ritual: first I would stop at Broad Street Dough Co. for a fresh and delicious doughnut, Rook coffee for some cold brew, and then set myself up in the sand near Asbury Park. I would set up my beach chair, my blanket and my cold brew. And I would sit. And read. And listen. And nap. And take in the sun. I love feeling the warmth of the sun. This was my “me” time. I needed this time. Without it, well let’s just say after too long I was no ray of sunshine.
My favorite part about being on the beach this year was there were no distractions; I could actually accomplish some reading! Sure every now and then I would find myself eavesdropping or preoccupied by people watching, but overall, I was pretty intentional about my “me” time. It was nice being able to sort through my thoughts, be quiet before God and let Him speak to me through the ocean. And let’s be honest, I got a pretty decent tan!
I couldn’t be more thankful for the serenity of the Shore. It wasn’t until these last few times traveling that I realized just how much being near the aqua blue water made me feel at ease. I have seen my share of the majestic from the mountains of Norway, to the castles and beautiful monasteries of Portugal. But even then, when I arrive at the beach in a foreign land, I am in awe, and I feel at home. The beach will always be my favorite place.