by Annette Bridges
Sometimes I feel like I’ve lived my life waiting for vacation to vacation. In between each anticipated excursion, I would be dreaming, planning and longing. My very favorite vacation has taken me seaside. Throughout my childhood, a trip to the ocean was often as much for curative reasons than for a holiday. Anytime we were struggling with some difficulty or had a major decision looming, my mom would suggest a trip to the ocean in search of peace or solution.
Many an artist has tried to capture the ocean’s essence. Many a poet has told its stories. Many a writer has found inspiration in its presence. Does this wonder of nature contain some mysterious healing power in itself or does it remind thought of an infinite, omnipotent divine source that can uplift and heal us wherever we are?
I have sat for hours by the seaside enraptured by the vastness and infinity of the broad view. It’s something about the wideness of the sea and the constancy of the rolling waves that would make my soul sigh in contentment and quiet my mind in peaceful reflection. I love the way I feel when I vacation by the ocean and have often thought, “How can I take this peaceful feeling home with me?” “How can I go back home and find freedom from the stress of life’s chores and responsibilities?”
Words from a beloved hymn compare the wideness of God’s mercy to the wideness of the sea. I know that wideness encompasses me where I am, each moment of my life. God is not limited to a location. God is certainly with me at home as much as He is with me when on vacation.
Christ Jesus gave us wonderful instruction on how to pray. He said, “When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:6)
I love to pray when sitting on the seashore. It’s like my closet. I shut my eyes to any troubles, fears or concerns. With each breath I take, I feel wrapped in God’s love. I hear the thunderous roar of waves crashing but at the same time I feel the order and rhythmic peaceful pattern of the waves rolling in. I think of a line from a poem written by author of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, where she states, “And o’er earth’s troubled, angry sea I see Christ walk, and come to me, and tenderly, divinely talk.” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896) I feel as if Christ Jesus has spoken to me and proclaimed, “Peace, be still.” It’s as if a thought whispers to me, “You are safe. You are not alone. You are whole. All is well. ” I open my eyes once again to the vastness of the scene before me. Whatever problem, fear or concern had been troubling me now seems very small, like a single grain of sand under my feet. There is clarity and there is calm.
The healing power of this prayer did not require sitting by the sea. I can follow Christ Jesus prayer instructions wherever I am. And I have. Whether I am working at my desk, sitting in a hospital waiting area, standing in line at the grocery store, or stuck in my car in a traffic jam. I enter into my closet, that quiet realm of my consciousness that knows God’s presence and love is with me and is as constant as the rolling waves and as infinite as the inexhaustible waters of the sea. I talk with God and hear the healing words needed in that moment. And again and again, there is clarity, there is calm, there is peace.
What were my questions? How can I take this peaceful feeling home with me? How can I go back home and find freedom from the stress of life’s chores and responsibilities?
Christ Jesus provided the answer. “Enter into thy closet.”
I know that Love, the Love that is God, is always with me as I travel my life journey. And I know this is true for my daughter and husband and for you, too. We can all feel the healing peace of God wherever we are and wherever we go.
Originally published in February 2004. ©Annette Bridges. All rights reserved.