On Monday evening, my hubby asked if I wanted to hit the beach with the munchkins. I love the beach – the sand, the salt water, the sky, the sounds…I love walking barefoot, toes in the water, building sand castles, watching the ebb and flow of the waves, breathing in the ocean air. I fell in love with my husband on the beach, we got engaged on the beach, and we live by the beach.
Subconsciously, though, I think I have feared actually going into the water. From afar, the beach brought joy, love, lightness. But, up close, the soft facade of the water blocked a hard reality of its strength. I didn’t completely trust it. I could love the water, look at it, walk up to it, dangle my feet in, but over the past few years, I resisted fully diving in and experiencing it, even when the tide was low.
A flashback happens as I step towards the water hand-in-hand with LuLu and the Little Man. I was walking on the beach holding my LuLu – she was just 4 months old. My husband went to grab her to bring her in with him. My grip tightened. He wiggled her out of my firm grip and I could barely breathe. They went in the ocean together, and I held my breath the entire time. The flashback clear as yesterday in my mind. The day was 6 years prior. She was in a pink and white polka dot suit, wearing a white rimmed hat. My chest hurt. My heartbeat was strong and fast.
I didn’t realize the depths of my fears until Monday.
Why did the ocean cause me such angst? We weren’t even near the waves - my children were safe. But, my chest tight, pounding louder and louder, I could have almost fell to the ground in fear.
“Lord,” I pray silently in my heart. “I know you are my energy source, my power. I trust you that you will protect us.”
I once read that the ocean is a symbol for our potential, the endless possibilities. Being outside of the ocean, we are able to see ourselves and our pure potentiality, but stepping in it can cause fear or anxiety of the unknown. Often, when we are in the mode of self-discovery or introspection, watching the ocean can hold a mirror up to ourselves.
But this time, it’s to a dream I had just a few nights before. I was walking toward the beach on the sidewalk – I had to cross the street, climb up on the boardwalk, down through the dunes before I even hit the sand. The water was thousands of feet away. But as I crossed the road, I saw a wave coming up over the dunes, the boardwalk, and I ran. As the water reached me, I was able to tread on top of it. The waves were forceful, the water was deep, but I was being carried as I moved my feet forward.
My children were squealing in joy as the white foamy remnants of the large troughs of waves hit the edge, gently watering their tiny toes. I took a step forward, closer to the water, now feet full in, breathing deep, and silently in my heart, I heard Him. “Trust me. I will protect you. I will carry you through.”
In that moment, my heart replied, “I surrender.”