If you’ve ever sat on a rocky lakeside beach watching waves crash ashore, on a sandy Caribbean beach meditating on the calming waves, or on the deck of a cruise ship watching the undulating waters as you scan the horizon, you know how easily existential and spiritual thoughts about life and your small portion of that life come to mind.
Metaphors begin dancing in your head, heart, and soul about the ebb and flow of life, the horizons you have yet to cross, and the calm you wish you could experience every day. You’re touched, inspired, and frozen for minutes by the simplicity and magnificence of God’s creation. You indulge yourself in an understandable selfish moment.
Tucked in an Emotional Glass Bottle
Without hesitation or guilt, you claim these moments as yours. You take those deeply personal and meaningful moments, and enclose them in an emotional glass bottle to be revisited and enjoyed again and again. Those moments are yours and only yours. Like the colorful lakeside piece of glass from the sea you tucked in your shorts, or the beautifully designed seashell you secured in your bathing suit, those moments go home with you.
While claiming one of those moments as my own on a lakeside beach one day, my mind took an unexpected detour, challenging the exclusivity of my experience. My thoughtful appreciation of the waves coming ashore and the clean line of the distant horizon, seemed to no longer be the exception to a rule created just for me. It felt like just another example of a rule created for all to appreciate from the beginning of time, when God created the earth’s waters.
Countless People Filled Their Own Bottles
After a moment or two of surveying the sand and rocks deposited by the waves on the shore, I accepted the fact that like the seemingly infinite number of grains of sand and bleached stones that covered the beach, a countless number of people must have filled their own emotional glass bottles on that beach, and thousands of other beaches since the beginning of time.
As I turned to walked away, I hesitated and looked across the lake to the horizon again. It dawned on me each of those emotional glass bottles were unique, as distinctive as each grain of sand under my feet. I smiled.
I was thankful God gave me my own little glass bottle to take home and revisit.
Listen to God's Words
Some went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters. They saw the works of the Lord, his wonderful deeds in the deep. (Psalm 107:23-24)
This is what the Lord says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—the Lord Almighty is his name: (Jeremiah 35:35)
The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (Matthew 8:27)
Also read: Psalm 104:25, Job 12:7-10, Isaiah 43:2-3
In the Words of Others
“Those who live by the sea can hardly form a single thought of which the sea would not be part.” Hermann Broch
“Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shore line no matter how many times it’s sent away.” Sarah Kay
“Whoever you are, motion and reflection are especially for you. The divine ship sails the divine sea for you.” Walt Whitman
Think About It
Have you had lake, seaside, or cruise ship moments that lured you into deep thoughts and existential questions about life? Recall a time and try to revisit those thoughts.
Were any of those thoughtful moments in the face of God’s natural wonders spiritual in nature, bringing you closer to the Divine? If yes, recall those experiences.
Describe changes you may have made in your life after experiencing those moments. What do you think about those moments now?