Monday, June 4, 2012

The Ocean

One thing I always struggle with when I am at the ocean is expectations.  For some reason, I think that when I look at the ocean, I am supposed to be awe-inspired.  I think that I am supposed to have this big "Aha" moment and reflect on my past, my present and my future.  Isn't that what other people are doing?  Aren't they sitting there contemplating life?  Seeing God in the nature of the ocean?  Feeling peace?  When I look at the ocean, I see a lot of water.  That's it.  It's beautiful but I am not moved by it.  And then I am slightly disappointed.  I drank my coffee out on the deck every morning to have "my moment".  I couldn't feel the peace and calm of being at the ocean because I was too busy trying to be reflective.  I kept expecting more.   I took a walk on the beach.  I still didn't have my "aha" moment.  I took a walk with Laci on the beach.  I took a walk with Calvin on the beach.  That was closer to it because I was with them but I still didn't feel like I was sharing this big piece of nature and worship with them.  Why don't I feel like I am "supposed" to? 

After a few days of trying and disappointment, I remembered that that isn't for me.  I know some people like to worship in nature.  They see the mountains and the oceans and can feel the power of God there.  I can not.  I finally had to come to the conclusion that it is okay not to have that big "aha" moment.  It still makes me wonder what others are thinking about as they are sitting at the beach watching the ocean.  Are they able to simply enjoy the peace and calmness of the ocean?  I can not.  

We drove through mountains to and from the beach and I also looked out the window looking for the beauty of the mountains.  I was looking for God in nature that I hear people talk about.  I just saw lots of trees.  

We started our drive home on Thursday.  It was a rough drive.  I had a big fight with Charlie and Laci and there was lots of yelling and crying.  Laci finally fell asleep.  After 2 hours, I had to wake her up.  I don't know what she had for lunch but she was Tootie McTooter.  The next thing I knew, Charlie was singing the old camp song "Diarrhea", Calvin was in the back screaming "Rhea!" Rhea!" and Laci was giggling.  I started to smile and realized that this was "my moment".  This chaos of my family being goofy together was what I was looking for at the ocean.  Before we left on our trip, I told Charlie that my favorite parts of vacation are always in the car.  All of us together. I was right.  
My favorite moment was driving to the beach and seeing Laci's face full of excitement the closer we got.  As we got our suits on and headed to the beach, the kids faces were so full of excitement, I thought they were going to explode!  Another "moment" was all of us extended family having dinner together.  I love the craziness of dinner.  I was worried about going on this vacation and was afraid of being with people and out of my routine for too long.  I realized that I have it all backwards.  It's not that I don't want to be with people, it's that I only want to be with people.  I want to do everything on vacation with everyone and I don't want to step on toes, be rude or invite myself on other people's activities.  Maybe others don't want to be with me all the time.  My "moments" and magic come when we are all together - whether it be at the majestic ocean, cramped car, dancing around the house or eating dinner.  It's the people that make me happy and all being together, not the setting or location.  

Sunday morning, we went to church.  I walked in the church and had an "Aha" moment.  This may sound corny or unpopular but church is where I feel the awesomeness of God.  The ocean, mountains and nature is not where I feel peace.  Church is where I feel peace.

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