i sit here typing, looking out on the southern oregon coastline. yesterday the huge rock in front of the house served as a visual anchor to miles of beach, its cliffs and crevices covered by green and gold moss. the sun was shining through the chilly ocean breeze and the seagulls were swooping in jagged lines across my line of sight. today my view is much different. even though it is the middle of summer, a little storm has started to roll in. at first it was patchy and thin, and now my entire view is obscured by the misty clouds that have covered the entire beach.
i know the rock is there, but i can’t see it through the fog, but somehow my brain can’t quite just let it be. my eyes strain to make out the outline of the gigantic rock we’ve gotten acquainted with over the past week here. i just can’t feel peace looking out at the water because of what i know i can’t see. i can’t just know it is there, i need to see it, all of it.
one thing i’ve been praying lately is that the Lord would lead me towards peace when i am refusing to just let things be, when i demand clarity in the middle of the fog. i know there’s beauty in every season of life, but my insistence on doing things my way often prevents me from having the right perspective.
there’s something cathartic about coming back to the same place year after year, something that mends and heals and wakes us up, especially when we don’t know we were sleeping. i’m especially grateful for this coastline today, its lines and rock formations etched into my heart for over 30 years. when i was a kid i wandered these rugged beaches for hours, freezing purple toes and wind tangled hair, with my yellow sony walkman in my sweatshirt pocket, wishing we were at disneyland or lake tahoe like the cool kids at school. i remember feeling alone and insignificant, sometimes never seeing another person on the beach all day. i remember gleefully jumping waves with my family on the days we dared go into the water like maniacs and thinking there was nothing better than laughing with my brother and my dad as my mom smiled at us from the shade of a rock.
sometimes it feels like nothing has changed, although those days seem like ages ago. but then again, i am not the same person i was when i was 8 and was happy on an empty beach, or when i was 10 and wishing i had an older sister or someone to talk to or when i was 14 and bossy and awkward and listening to a PM Dawn single on that worn out Walkman, but i felt Him then like i feel Him now. i’m standing on the same sand, looking at the same rock formations, the same sun shining by day and the same shiny moon gleaming down at night, the same ocean waves crashing and the same tides bringing in the new and taking out the old, and i feel Him doing the same. He washes away the fears and the brokenness and the doubt and gives me mercy and courage and lots of second chances.
this place has become sacred to me, only for the constant reminder that He who put these rocks into place, who anchored these majestic formations in shifting sand and who formed me in my mother’s womb, is still calling my name today.
i come back to this place to let go of things that i should not hold on to anymore and to take hold of things i should have done years ago.
i come back to this place now, not a baby anymore myself but married now with babies of my own, and we explore miles of coastline and eat clam chowder on splintery piers and we have time outs at the minute cafe where all the old timers give approving nods to our parental rookie-ness and sometimes we even have a grown up argument or two of our own. but we fall into bed with sandy feet and chocolate stained faces and wake up to do it all again.
i come back to this place to remember everything better, and the real miracle of it all?? is that all of it is glorious and wonderful even when it is hard, even when the fog constricts my view and thunderstorms threaten in the distance, and vacationing with children makes us feel like crazy people. when i can’t see with my eyes what i know to be true, the goodness of God always breaks through and shows us the way.
Psalm 104: 1-6
Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God You are very great;
You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering Yourself with light as with a cloak, stretching out heaven like a tent curtain.
He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters;
He makes the clouds His chariot; He walks upon the wings of the wind;
He makes the winds His messengers, flaming fire His ministers.
He established the earth upon its foundations, so that it will not totter forever and ever.
You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters were standing above the mountains.