I have now spent the better part of this week with the balcony door open in my room, despite the colder than normal temperatures in Ocean City, simply listening to the crashing of the waves on the shoreline. At times I have also sat and watched it, trying to take it all in, if that is at all possible. I was in some desperate need of time with the ocean, a faithful friend on the journey who has been most consistent. As I sat here the first night, exhausted from Easter and not much time off since Christmas, I was struck by just how worn down I was feeling, to the point that there was endless chatter of negativity that I would need to let go of or allow to pass, even if it meant it would pass as slowly as the waves were crashing. If not, I am aware how easy it is to feed those voices within, allowing them to grow into anxiety and fears, rather than trusting in the “slow work of God” and the quiet voice of the Spirit nudging along.
There’s so much you can miss by simply listening to the ocean. You miss seeing the waters’ foam that builds and crashes with the waves. You miss the erosion of the sands as it has been these days, battered against incessant waves, similar to that negative chatter and the tole it takes on my spirit and soul. You miss the unexpected, all the life that washes up on shore or pokes its head out of the waters, reminding me that there is life beyond what I see. Yet, this time I needed to listen more than observe. I needed to listen to the unknown and trust that “all will be well” and that it’s out of my hands, how they crash, the immensity of them, the erosion that takes place, none of which I can control; all I can do is listen to the known and yet unknown at the same time. It’s been so cold and rainy the past two days that I haven’t been out walking so much, to observe, rather, just listening and listening hard, and as time goes by this week, listening with a better ear, much freer of the negative chatter that was consuming me, controlling me, and endlessly needing and wanting to be fed. Yet, letting it go has allowed what should be fed to be open to hearing and listening to the waves crash, gently, yet with great force and power at the same time, washing away all that has died and opening up space for what is to come.
There’s something healing about the waters, even if just listening to them and their continuous cycle. I don’t know if I can explain it, even though I have tried to write about it, but I know deep down that words cannot even begin to suffice or explain something that is beyond head knowledge or understanding. Something was different today, though, as I ventured out and walked the shoreline for the first time in two days. I heard a noise that I had not heard before. Now there is a part of me that believes it was an illusion that the wind was playing on me as it battered the hood of my windbreaker, but as I walked along, hearing the waves crash and hit, it sounded as if there was a rumble deep within the earth as each one hit. It was similar to the way the house shakes when a heavy truck barrels down the road, shaking everything in its path, or what I’d imagine and earthquake to do to the earth, breaking a part and separating what was once one, making space for something new to break forth. That’s what I heard and experienced as I walked along today, the crashing of the waves and the deep rumblings of the ocean floor, groaning as it pushes forward the strength and the immensity of the waters, swallowing up everything in its path, including my feet which felt its bitter wrath of cold today.
Even as I wrap this up, I sit here listening. No, I don’t hear the rumbling of the earth from my room, but I know what I heard, experienced, and maybe what is happening within me since the two are but one. Somehow and in some way, the ocean has a great deal to teach, if anything, to heal us enough to break us open to begin to see just how connected we are, the larger story that doesn’t belong to us but rather we are a part of with the ocean. The negative chatter has mostly gone, thankfully, leaving me in gratitude that the ocean once again fed me in a way that was necessary, a healing balm that has enveloped me and anyone who takes the time to be one with this massive body of water. Maybe, just maybe, that rumbling wasn’t just the wind blowing through my windbreaker and not even just the groaning of the ocean floor, but the groaning within of a God who calls into the deepest part of the ocean blue, the depths of my being and soul, to a life of love, to the life which God desires.