I woke that morning with a restless ache to stick my toes deep into cool sand and feel the salt of the sea wash over my skin. I wasn’t asking for anything, I’d only taken my lament to Instagram, as I am sometimes apt to do. I desperately miss the beach, a severe downside of living landlocked as we do, here in middle Ohio. The creeks and rivers within driving distance fail to satisfy the longing for the roar of the ocean. They possess a beauty of their own, but the ocean is wild and perhaps, that’s what I needed most that morning–the awe and reverence I experience every time I stand at the edge where the waves break.
I wanted to be quieted by the relentless shushing of the waves.
So I took my hunger to Instagram and made my wrestling known to some 4000 plus people. I don’t know why we do this. Social media is a necessary part of my work, and also something with which I bounce between loving and hating on a near daily basis. But in a few charcaters, I asked the question: what is behind this longing?–because I genuinely wanted to know.
I am learning to pay attention to my life, to the hunger pangs that arise, to the aches that force tears, to all the moments I can too easily blast right through. I want to understand the shape of my life, to trace the contours of my unique design. In her book, Gift From The Sea, Anne Morrow Lindburgh says,
“The shape of my life is, of course, determined by many things; my background and childhood, my mind and its education, my conscience and its pressures, my heart and its desires.”
And so I’m making practice of observing the shape of my life, and the events and circumstances and people that have helped press it into what it is in this season. But when I shared my post that sad morning, I did not (nor could I have) anticipated that a friend would answer the cries of my heart in the most stunning way. Her message came swiftly, offering a care package from the sea.