Levi and I had the profound pleasure of spending all of last week at the beach. Its a little tradition that my parents started last year where they rent a beach house for the week before school starts and we cart the grandkids out there for one last week of summer fun before the reality of life hits again. We had a blast. And I was fortunate enough to be gifted by my mother one entire day at the beach by myself. She took Levi off to the zoo and I spent 6 glorious hours in the sun all by myself. It was other worldly. No one asked me for a snack. No one complained that they were bored. I didn’t have to jump waves with anyone, and risk life and limb with the sea creatures. And as much as I would have loved my husband’s company out there, there was was something serene and life giving about having so much time to just sit and stare out at the ocean with just my thoughts and an occasional podcast to keep me company.
The beach where we end our summers is also a major port for the world’s biggest cruise lines. And this particular strip of beach that we were on this year had a great view of all of the massive liners coming in and out of the port on an almost daily basis. As I sat there in my own little paradise, I watched one such beast of a boat make its way out to sea. Because I have had the privilege of cruising around on one of these huge vessels, I know that when they are trucking across the ocean, they are going at some pretty neck breaking speeds. But when you watch them trudge across the ocean from the beach, it seems as if they are going nowhere fast. In fact, in the six hours that I sat there on the beach, I watched the same ship make its way out to the vast ocean waters. And I found myself constantly amazed at the fact that I was still seeing the same blasted boat every time I looked up. The ocean was so flat and the ship was so huge that it just seemed to always be looming there on the horizon. In fact several times I looked up to see the ship and thought surely it had to be another ship making its way into port. But, no. It was the same beast churning its way on a great adventure.
The sheer girth of the ship made it seem to never be making any progress, despite the fact that science tells me that it is, indeed, shooting across the seas. For some reason as I watched this ship make its way out to sea, I kept thinking about some hurts in my life right now that just don’t ever seem to disappear. Even though I know time is marching on and healing is occurring slowly but surely, they are just so big and so massive that they never seem to make their way completely off of my horizon. I thought of the people I have lost over the years and felt the sting of their passing just as keenly as I did the day they left this earth. I thought about the broken relationships in my life that just never seem to find their course and so they loom out there as a reminder of failed connections and miscommunications. I thought about all the fiery arrows that I fling at myself, the not good enoughs, that swirl in my head and always seem to be just at the tip of my brain and way too easily accessed if I think a little too hard. I thought of the unfulfilled desires that seem to always be shoved to the bottom of my to do list and that mock me there even as I shove them down further.
All of these hurts came to mind as I watched the ocean liner fight its way out to sea and I had to take some encouragement from its painful journey. Because the massive cruise ship is in fact moving at top speed. It is moving along to bigger and better places. It has a destination in mind. You just can’t see that from the shore. From the shore it seems too big and bulky to be making any actual progress. But that is simply not true. In my own life, healing is occurring. New goals are being made and old goals are being met. New relationships are also looming on the horizon, passing the old ones as they make their way out. New life is being born all around me. It just takes time to see its progress. And the wisdom to know that this too, shall pass. The boat will find its way out to sea. Just you watch.