*Isak Dinesen was right.
The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.
I recently tested this theory, and the results were positively conclusive.
A tough workout, a good cry, a long soak in the sea… Chances are, one’s the remedy for what ails you (and me).
(Given the choice, I’ll take the beach. But you Crossfit freaks… You do you.)
There’s just something about the sea. It’s at once soothing and spellbinding. Its beauty hypnotizes and heals. Tides rise and fall, and the waves change color with the changing skies. The surface is windswept, wild. The ocean roars, unleashing its fury… and then, after a time, it’s lulled once again into reverent calm.
Dazzling like diamonds.
Below the surface, the sea teems with the most exotic creatures: sea urchins and sea turtles, anemones and octopi, oysters and eels, jellyfish and starfish and humpbacks and hammerheads. Fish shaped like lions and horses and spiders and bats. . . and patterned like leopards and tigers and zebras. Oh my!
(In case anyone’s wondering, snorkeling in Belize is indeed on my bucket list. And I’d gladly travel this afternoon, since we’re currently enduring subzero temperatures and dangerous wind chills in the Midwest. And – adding insult to injury – we just got a fresh dump of snow. Anybody want to share their miles? Anyone? Buehler?)
Nearly anywhere in the world, a walk along the seashore will bestow exquisite gifts.
Our hopes crest and crash like waves, only to rise again… lifted by some hidden grace.
The water beckons and few can resist. We wade in, stepping gingerly, tasting sea spray.
Out of the blue, a rogue wave tosses us headlong. We scramble to find our footing, regain balance, break the surface… breathe.
And occasionally we get stung. (Who knew there was something lurking beneath the surface, tentacles laced with poison?)
The sea mirrors life itself…
Ebb and flow. Tumult and tranquility.
It whispers its backstory.
A Spirit hovers. The waters obey. They are drawn, poured, gathered, stilled.
Vibrant with life. Voicing love divine.
Vast and deep.
Something about the sea summons wonder and worship.
And were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky…
(Lyrics from “The Love of God” by MercyMe.)
Yes, it’s true.
The breadth and beauty of the sea reflect a loving and brilliant Artist, Author, Botanist, Biologist, Chemist…Creator.
And may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it.
And so at last you will be filled up with God himself.
~ Ephesians 3:18-19 (TLB)
The sea is magnificent and a little mysterious. It is powerful, unpredictable, sublime and serene all at once. It invites us to glimpse the glory of the One who first imagined it.
In his book, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis unveils Almighty God in the character of Aslan, the lion king of an otherworldly place called Narnia. A young girl named Lucy inquires about meeting Aslan but worries that he might not be safe, and a native Narnian responds this way:
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
God is good. Like the ocean He created. Good, but not always safe. Worthy of our fear and awe. Alluring… and sometimes angry. Inviting us to great adventure and gifting us with hidden treasure. Breathtaking and captivating and utterly terrifying too. Full of countless secrets yet undiscovered.
The ocean beckons. Wander, wade, soak, splash. Stroll along the shore. Walk and talk with the One who cups the waters… and calms the storms.
Let the sea spray work wonders.
Let the Healer cure what ails you.
Let the skies proclaim God’s glory.
Stay salty, friends. (It’s good for you… body and soul.)
P.S. If – like me – you’re presently suffering a miserably cold, dreary winter in some landlocked northern state, I highly recommend you take in the surfcam views of places like Perth, Portofino, Palawan, or Phuket. Click here or there to catch some waves. (You’re welcome.)
*Isak Dinesen is the pen name for Karen Blixen, who wrote (and lived) Out of Africa and Babette’s Feast. From now on, I will be using the pen name Vivienne Cross. Just FYI.