I was talking to my aunt on the phone this evening. She's had a rough time just lately; she's had to stand by and watch as several people she loved fought their battles, unable to lend anything but hope and sorrow as each won or lost their individual struggle.
So when she told me that she went to the beach to recharge her batteries, and that she felt more at peace and close to God there, I knew exactly what she meant and what the ocean had done for her, because it does the same for me, only in a different way.
When life is just too hard, when things have come to a place where I feel that the box full of emotions I keep locked tight inside me is about to burst its chains and spill forth on everyone around me, I make for the ocean. When I stand on the shore looking out to where the sky and the water become a place of mist and illusion, each echoing the other until they are an indistinct, twinned line, I feel as though my seemingly insoluble problems are a waste of infinite space and time.
When I watch the endless, repeating cycle of water lapping the shore, pulling away and overflowing back again forever and ever and ever, I think: How is it that I feel that my little problems are so large? On this scale, where these waters will come in and go away again until the Earth ceases to hold tight to the Moon, my worries are as fleeting as a breath.
When the wind blows the tingle of salt into every pore of my skin, chilling me and sealing out the babble of all of my more trivial thoughts, I am set free from old ideas and old fears. I am able to be alone inside my head, in some way more alone than at any other time. I am able to dispassionately view the things that have haunted and harried me and put them into perspective.
As an irreligious person, I don't feel the need to be close to a creator, but I do feel a great sense of wonder and awe that I am a part of such a beautiful, complex system as this shore, this world, this galaxy. My tiny little self is a part of something so immense, so wonderful, so amazingly complicated, I can't help but revel in that sense of delight, of oneness with all things. I can never forget that I am made of star-stuff:
Symphony of Science - 'We Are All Connected' (ft... by wamane
So when my auntie tells me she feels better and closer to God after her visit to the ocean, I get it. Oh, I get it. She was reminded of her part in the great Infinite, and how beautiful it is to get to be alive as a part of it all.
Actually, that makes me want to get away to the ocean myself, and as soon as I can. I need to refresh my sense of my place in the infinite, as well.