Do you have a favorite place to just BE?
It’s the ocean. Not necessarily those crowded Southern California or Florida beaches, but the wild and windy coastlines of Northern California and Oregon.
I’ve lived in the midwest now for over 14 years, and I still long for the ocean…the sights, the sounds, the smells, the feel. Anytime we visit family on the West Coast, we try to get over to the ocean for at least one day. And every time we are able to make it there, my soul breathes deeper, my spirit is quieted, and my heart is comforted. As I stand on the sand looking out at the waves, this song always comes to mind:
“Have you ever stood at the ocean, with the white foam at your feet?
Felt the endless thundering motion? Then I say,
You’ve seen Jesus my Lord.
Have you seen Jesus my Lord?
He’s here in plain view.
Take a look, open your eyes.
He’ll show it to you.”
It’s an old chorus we used to sing in youth group gatherings. I have no idea where it comes from, who wrote it, or what the other verses are. But I sing it every. single. time.
There’s something about being confronted with such beauty, power, and constancy that reminds me that I am not the one in control. And the one who IS in control is all-powerful, never-changing, and a forever love.
Hearing the consistent sound of waves is a concrete example of His presence. Seeing the wildness of the surf is a visible reminder of the untameable nature of who He is. (Remember The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe? “After all, he’s not a tame lion.”) Feeling the chilly touch of the water’s leading edge before it must recede displays to my heart His ultimate power over all things.
Obviously I can’t go stand on the beach whenever I want in order to capture that sense of peace. Through the power of memory and photographs I might be able to catch a glimpse of it, but nothing compares to actually being there. So the question is, how can I experience that stillness of spirit, heart, and mind when I can’t be at the beach? Unfortunately, I don’t know that I have a really good answer for that!
I know that getting up early in the morning, before anyone else is up, and spending time reading, studying, writing out my prayers, and just sitting in the quiet is helpful. Taking little mini-retreats to a coffee house is always nice. Sometimes even the simple act of turning the radio off when I’m in the car by myself can produce a moment of calm and (relative) quiet in which to think or pray.
But I don’t think anything will ever compare to the perfect contentment that comes from standing on the sand, looking out over the water.
Where is your “place” of peace?