The ocean is an amazing and mysterious sight, and I am ashamed I never appreciated it until I moved away from my hometown by the sea to a land-locked metropolis equipped with a metro system, multicultural food, a plethora of people to watch, and tall buildings that made Virginia’s summer humidity seem extra oppressive. There was no cool ocean breeze to rustle my hair or sand to exfoliate my toes, and my heart ached for those things even though I did not know I missed them.
I think about the sea and that sweltering city as I stand in the expanse of warm, dry sand, watching the ocean stretch its fingers onto the earth, reaching for something unseen until it can reach no more and folds into itself again.
The waves lap the sand, calling out my name in a quiet, soothing voice, and all I need to do is come, come to the edge. I walk toward the sea, a smile on my face, and touch my toes to the very place where the water meets the sand, and I am forever changed.
I wiggle my toes, kick the waves, and step deeper into the sea. What a shame that I never cared for the ocean for all the years we were neighbors. It was too big, too unpredictable, but now I see that it has a rhythm of its own. Waves roll in, birthed in a place far beyond my sight. Their crests peak out, telling me they’re on their way. When they reach the shore, they curl into themselves, releasing themselves onto the earth. The little waves bump into my ankles like a shy greeting and make me smile. The big waves crash into my body, a bear hug from a forever friend, and I am unsteady under the force.
“I missed you too,” I tell the sea. “Only I did not know it.”
I now know why I admire the ocean: it is like God’s love, which is just as mysterious to me as the sea. Like the ocean, God’s love extends far beyond what I can see from my perch on the shore. I see the horizon, but the miles are limitless, and I could run along the shore forever but never find the point where the sea begins or ends.
The sea calls to me, beckoning me to step forward, letting the water rise to my waist, then to my neck, until my toes no longer grasp the familiar, crunchy sand.
I will never know the depth of the ocean, of God’s love, but it calls to me, begging me to come closer to a world I will only understand a corner of. But the point is to step in, where I am no longer attached to the shore where the waves meet the sand, and I am floating, floating in a mystery that cannot drown me but brings me more and more to life.