Monday, August 14, 2006

Why the ocean?

First, I recognize that there have been no new heggthoughts for some time. I would offer some apology, but actually, I am under no pressure to offer thoughts everyday, or even every week. I know that some believe that a blogger is responsible for consistent postings, but I do not agree. Those things in life that are free never create the burden of entitlement.

Secondly, I just don't have enough good insights for daily postings, or even weekly ones. When things strike me as useful, I pass them along. It is my hope that any readers of heggthought will consider less as more, and be thankful that they are not subjected to pages and pages of daily nonsense.

Now, why the ocean? We're vacationing in a rented condo just now, living just seconds from the beaches and waves of the Pacific Ocean in SoCal. And we're not alone. The beaches and roads and restaurants and parks and parking lots are crowded with people like us, drawn to the ocean despite the throngs and inflated prices. All around us are homes whose price tags are staggering because they offer their owners a glimpse or the scent of the ocean. Even though proximity to the ocean makes living more expensive and travel more congested, we all prefer it, dream of obtaining it, and yet seldom ponder it. Today I got in a good bit of pondering, and perhaps have come up with at least part of the reason behind the ocean's draw.

The ocean - that broad and beautiful expanse of restless serenity - is not the passive relational partner it appears to be. True, our first impression is that it is out there, quite unimpressed with us, quite unconcerned with us, quite passive in our relationship with it. It is just there, and will continue on regardless of what we do, passively refusing to care whether we - or anyone else for that matter - is present. But I think this is the great myth of the ocean. It isn't passive. It powerfully acts upon us at almost every level of our being, and that is why we are drawn to it. And before you start thinking that my vacation has included too many adult beverages, give me a chance to explain.

Standing and staring out at the ocean today, I realized that it was delivering a powerful message to me, and to everyone else who took the time to consider the differences between the ocean and the human.

The ocean is the picture of stability, of longevity, of consistency. Simply put, it nevers worries. It is never pressed or pressured, never forced, never coerced, never beaten. It is constantly moving, never static, and yet as it flows back and forth, day in and day out, it does so without a care or concern.

I, the human, on the other hand, am tossed about by circumstances everyday, opposed by forces more able and pressures more powerful than me. For almost all of us, the daily rhythym of life is really all about developing personal strategies for facing all the obstacles each day brings. To thrive, we must become experts at ducking, dodging, or dealing with all the expected and unexpected debris the wind of this world blows our way everyday. And so, when life offers the chance to stand and take in the ocean view, smelling the air, and enjoying the breeze, my soul is refreshed in the presence of a power - the ocean - that brings calm in consistency, comfort in stability, rest - if only for moments - in the knowledge that there is, in this chaotic world, a true expression of peace that never disappoints. This peace is what I so long for, yet seem never to capture whole, except in moments and seasons. Enjoying the ocean reminds me that such peace can and does exist in this world, that it can be enjoyed even in the midst of chaos and opposition, and that pursuing the enjoyment of this peace is the highest purpose in life.

I greatly doubt that we ocean lovers really ever think like this. And to enjoy the ocean's benefits we don't need to. We come, watch, relax, and walk the sand, and leave better, seldom caring why. But not knowing why doesn't mean a reason doesn't exist. The ocean works on us all the while appearing to be unaware of us. And yet, when we stop and think, and consider the powerful ways the ocean calms and comforts and improves us, we come even more to appreciate the way it sets our lives right. But there's more.

The ocean, as grand and majestic as it is, and as therapeutic as it is, isn't really alive. It has no volition, no personality, no animating spirit. It is not acting on its own initiative or according to its own plan. Rather, it is a tool in the hand of the One who created both it and us, and everything else. The ocean is the Lord's as is all that it contains. In so many ways, the consistency, and stability, and faithfulness of the ocean's movements are but the extension of the consistency, stability and faithfulness of our loving and almighty God. And the peace to which the ocean testifies is only realized in relationship with this God whose greatest act of love is His ongoing rescue mission by which He intends to bring redemption and renewal to His sin-wrecked creation. His peace is real, consistent, stable. His love is sincere, faithful, eternal. His offer of peace and love is a bona fide offer, available to the broken in His Son, Jesus Christ.

I can't afford more than a visit now and again, and perhaps a few days of yearly vacation, at the ocean's shore. But, as it turns out, I don't need to! I have been afforded the privilege of living before the very face of God everyday. As the hymn writer described it "He is an ocean full of goodness." My prayer and hope, as this oceanside vacation draws to a close, is that each day, standing before the God of the oceans, I will recognize and be refreshed by His consistency, His stability, His faithful love, His sustaining grace, and come to understand afresh that real life is so much more about delighting in Him than dodging the world's debris.

Hope this helps,



At 4:54 PM , Blogger Abby said...

Daddy, even though your postings may not be as consistent as some would like, you never cease to astound me with your words. Thank you for reminding me of the bountiful love and peace that is given to us by our Creator. I love you.


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