Monday, August 4, 11:30 AM
I should be on Route 19 somewhere in West Virginia right now.
Months ago I decided this day would be spent traveling to Topsail Beach, NC. Some of my favorite people in the world are vacationing there. Sharing a few days with them would have been a great gift.
Being at the beach revives me. Humbles me. Inspires me. Relaxes me. Recharges my batteries. I enjoy walks in the early morning and at sunset. I bask in the sun on my skin, the sound and smell of the water, the sand between my toes. What is better than coming in from an afternoon at the water, taking a shower, then spreading out on the bed while the ceiling fan drops cool air?
I should be en route right now. Life had other plans, as it has for some time now.
Even when I haven’t seen the ocean for years, images of it, emotions surrounding it are easily brought to mind. Sometimes I think of small waves breaking around my ankles as I stroll the beach. Or splashing with the kids. Or finding the perfect shell.
Other times – today – life feels like the ocean at its fiercest. Loud, choppy, difficult to navigate. I think about a time I was boogie boarding at Hilton Head Island. I respect the power of water. I stay alert to where I am, where the current is going, what is around me. I had just settled on a nice wave and was heading toward shore when another wave suddenly popped up, crossed mine and tossed me and the board.
Sometimes life feels like that, doesn’t it?
I was gauging the waves. Didn’t go out too far. Was aware of my limits. Even still, I was suddenly submerged, unsure of which way “up” was, then finally reaching the surface, grasping for my board and seeing the hat I was wearing going in the opposite direction.
I feel like that today. Nothing has “snuck up” on me. But what I thought for sure would have changed, hasn’t. The effects on that lack of resolution seem to be compounding. My board has been struck by a cross wave. I am confused about which way is “up” and things I treasure seem to be floating in many directions away from me. Resolution has been promised and promised and promised, but nothing has changed. The ocean I envision today could swallow me in an instant.
Accounts of people who have nearly drowned, but been rescued after losing consciousness, indicate that drowning gives the same sensation as a runner’s high. At some point, the body is so oxygen-deprived and full of endorphins that it shifts into a euphoric state. The desire to fight slips away into what feels like blankets of peace.
I have, thankfully, never been close enough to drowning to confirm or deny those accounts.
But, maybe you are like me…maybe life’s waves are sometimes so overwhelming and you feel like you can’t breathe and “up” seems to be out of sight and precious parts of life are being carried away on the current and peace – in whatever form – would be welcome.
Are you like me? Do you ever feel that way? Maybe today?
Then a song comes to mind. Those who know me well say, “Of course there is a song!”
I will call upon Your name and keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace, for I am Yours and You are mine*
Sometimes I hear a song I love and say UGH.
UGH because calling out and keeping my eyes up require energy I don’t feel is available.
UGH because I am SO WEARY of oceans rising.
UGH because resting in anyone’s embrace, even the Creator’s, requires surrender.
UGH because some days I want to scream, “I DON’T FEEL LIKE I AM YOURS OR YOU ARE MINE OR ANYTHING REMOTELY SIMILAR!!!”
Do you ever feel that way? Maybe it’s just me…
I turn off the song. That will work, right? Wrong. The bridge won’t go away. Over and over and over until I sing it out loud without even realizing.
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the water wherever you would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior*
If your ocean is sunny and little waves lap at your toes and kids are giggling around you, sing your heart out and be grateful.
Maybe your ocean is like mine today and singing those words makes water pop out of your eyes.
I should be en route to the beach. But I’m not. Maybe you feel the same way.
I don’t have a trite answer for either of us.
I know God is good. I know He has a plan. I know I’d like to see the sun right now. I also know it is still shining.
We will talk again soon.
Until then, I would love to hear your thoughts…
Beth Painter is, among many other things, a writer and motivational speaker. You can follow her on Facebook on the “Think Big focus small” page.
Beth is available to speak to your group about how to make your dreams and desires come to life!