I think that of all that I crave to see again from our trips to Portugal and Spain, it is the ocean and the sea that I miss most. They changed colors according to the sky above in a dance as old as the earth itself. It was as if I see God in the beauty of large expanses of water that always on first glance takes my breath away.
In the magnitude of the oceans and the beautiful Mediterranean Sea, I saw evidence of God’s provision in the fishing ships as they went out of the harbor in the early morning, and confirmation of His protection as they returned triumph each day loaded down with fish for us to enjoy. But, I was also reminded that God provides not just for humans but also for the birds that accompanied the fishing boats, ever seeking to steal an easy meal.
Each time I saw this wonderful tableau, I was reminded of the song by the great gospel singer, Ethel Waters, His Eyes is on the Sparrow, that echoes the words of Matthew 6: 26-27: “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
I would stand and remember not to fret over the trials in my life. It is hard to be doleful when looking at oceans, seas, and rivers, for in the regularity of tides coming in and out, low tides and high tides, there is an understanding that whatever we are experiencing in our lives, it will surely pass as life intensifies and ebbs in a constancy that has never ceased from the beginning of time.
There looking at the immensity of the waters as they stretch toward the horizon, one cannot be suspicious of God’s care for us flawed human beings, for He gave us the ability to make sea-worthy boats and travel to distant places. Grandfathers continue to teach their grandchildren classified information regarding on how to build safe boats and instill in the little ones a love and respect for the sea.
People who live near oceans seem to know when they can sunbathe on the rocks and when it was too dangerous, as God uses nature to teach us how to be safe. The power of the water to reshape the shoreline by taking the sand out to sea and bringing some of it back delighted me.
I was amazed at the strength of the water, as I felt the sand being pulled from under my feet, and I knew to be careful not to be swept out to sea, especially as I cannot swim. Once your feet gets used to the frostiness of the water, there becomes almost a yearning to feel the water on all of your skin. I marveled at Douglas and others who swam in the cold ocean waters.
I watched as kite surfers and sailboats skimmed across the ocean, and I envied them enjoying the calmness and peace of being on the water. The beauty of their flight stuck in my throat, for I was enthralled at their courage and grit, to challenge the ocean, realizing that not everyone wins, and that the ocean claims those who fail to respect it’s power and might.
I miss the taste of salt on my lips and watching fellow human beings taking in the sun’s rays and becoming nearly as brown as me! I miss simply seeing the moon shimmering across the blue water.
Everything in the oceans and seas work together, and there is no hate, for even the sharks are only following an instinct given to them by God to ensure they can eat and survive. Maybe what I miss most at the ocean are actions centuries in the making, a constancy that changes little, that reminds me that I am one with the waters. Even the storms with their large waves that frighten seafarers eventually return to calmness, as though God Himself has uttered those peaceful words that still calm my soul: Peace, Be Still.