Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Motion of the Ocean

I was born and raised in New York City. It is without a doubt one of the busiest places on the face of our planet. There was always movement and noise.
Buildings with large glass windows captured the sun, allowing only a few vagrant rays to reach the ground. A few trees dot the sidewalks, their branches blending in with the dominant grey color of the buildings that outnumber them.

New York has its own heartbeat. Maniacal, yet steady, it easily drowns out the sounds of beauty. My mind ran in synch with that beat. Always pulsating, never slowing down, never stopping. I longed for a slower pace. I needed something that would remain steady, lest my mind be thrown into arrhythmia, but I also needed something that would soften the harsh drumming that orchestrated my thoughts.

I found that peace at the ocean. Though we lived in the city, we made the trek to the beach at least a few times every summer. I am grateful my parents did that. I guess it was easy to assume they made the trip just for my benefit, but in hindsight, it probably saved their sanity as well. With very little concern or knowledge about the effects of UV rays, my mother would slather on a homemade mixture of baby oil and mercurochrome. She wanted to make sure I had a healthy summer glow. I am often amazed that I am not the victim of skin cancer. Those trips to the beach always made my spirit glow more than my skin.

It is no surprise, then that when I was able, I moved to another island, far away from the one I grew up in. This island was green and plush. The weather was always hot and humid. Colors exploded everywhere. The distinct sound of the coqui lulled me to sleep every night, a far cry from the blaring horns and sirens that pierced the New York City nights. And there was the beach. Cool Caribbean blue water. When I felt overwhelmed by stress I’d drive there and just sit on the white warm sand. It was there that I understood why I loved the ocean so much. The waves were steady and rhythmic. The waves were told to go just so far and no further, creating a soothing lullaby. And yet, the ocean demands respect. No one has fathomed its depths, though we have managed to land on other planets. The ocean holds secrets that will never be discovered and in a moment it can claim a life. I feel closest to God when I sit by the ocean. Perhaps it is because it reminds me so much of His character.

I don’t live on that island anymore. I now live 3 hours from the nearest shore. But at least one week a year, we take the time to go, and I just sit and I rediscover and I am reminded of who made me and who I am in Him.