California Dreamin’

I’m proud to admit that I am a California girl.

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“Really?” you say.

Really.

I was born in Merced, California.  Blond hair, blue-eyed, on the beach when I was a week old.  You could say it’s in my blood.

You could also say I’m crazy, because my parents moved me back to Kansas three weeks later in a box lid in the back of their car.

Haven’t lived there since.

But California is where we vacationed.

California is where I built my first sandcastle, rode my first wave, got my first sunburn, felt my first sand between my toes.

California is where the waves are so enormous that they roll over a tiny girl like me and take my breath away… and fill my swimsuit with sand.

California is where my daddy first taught me to pack the perfect sand for giant castle building.  California is where we would wake up early in the morning and walk along the beach collecting sand dollars.  California is where we watched the sun go down over a sparkling blue ocean and fell asleep to the lullaby of waves through the open doors.

So yeah… I guess you could say it’s in my blood.

And while I love mountains and skiing and hiking.  While I breath deep on the open plains, running under a Kansas sky with black storms rumbling in the distance.  While I live to kayak out in the middle of a peaceful lake framed by towering green trees.  There is just something about the ocean that beckons me.IMG_2082

As a little girl sitting on the edge of that great expanse, I gazed in wonder.  Squinting into the sunset trying to see the tallest tip of the farthest wave, wondering if I would ever know what was beyond that horizon.  Little did I know how far my adventures would take me beyond those safe, familiar, California shores.

Hawaii.  St. Croix.  The Gulf of Mexico.  The North Sea.  Icelandic shores.  The Mediterranean.  The Baltic Sea.  Florida coast.  Puget Sound.  East Coast of Taiwan.  Gulf of Thailand.  Bahrain.

On how many shores have I stood and wondered… wondered what brought me here.  Wondered what was next.  Wondered where this ocean current of life would take me.  How many suns have I chased over those distant waves?  How many more will come?

Life goes on.  Days roll into days.  Years upon years like waves cresting and tumbling over in the surf.  Sometimes we sit atop the waves and revel in the salty breeze.  Other times we are bowled over, tossed about, disoriented, bruised and we rise up breathless & coughing with sand in our pants.  There are days we long to sit quietly with the water lapping at our toes.   Other days we are eager to brave the depths.  To chase that horizon.

Wherever life has taken us, there is something about the ocean that brings us home.  There is something dangerous and mysterious and yet strangely familiar.  Reminds us just how small we are.  How vast this life is.  How magnificent creation.  How petty our concerns.

On the edge of this ocean we find a mysterious stirring together of peace and rage, constancy and chaos, life and death.  From the living, churning waves to the utter destruction that makes up the very sand at our feet.  The ocean is our life.  And we are but a seashell on it’s shore.  Thrown about.  Moved from here to there.  Rolled and ground and smoothed until we become a very part of the beach itself.  Another piece of the mystery.  Another grain of sand in the hands of Him who holds the sea.

We are nothing… and yet we are everything.  We are full of life… and yet we are powerless in the face of it’s greatness.  We are so small and so shifting and so easily shaken.

But we are His.

And in all the chaos and churning and darkness of this world we find our feet buried beneath the shifting sand and resting on solid rock.  With our face to the rising Son.

I am a California girl.  The ocean is in my blood.  And the Creator of the ocean holds my soul.

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