Meet Me at the Sea {The Grove: Water}

It’s not uncommon, the feeling I get. Twitchy brain cells, unsettled spirit. I find myself awake early, making a plan, warning the husband:

Today, I need to see the sea.

In Ireland, we tend to talk about the rain. It’s always somewhere hanging about, just waiting to ruin a perfectly good picnic or nearly-dry laundry on the line. My Irish friends often apologize for the weather, wondering why we’d come to such a wet, gray place. It’s not the rain, I tell them. It’s the sea.

Growing up in as-land-locked-as-it-gets Kansas, I didn’t know there was such a thing – the draw to open waters, the calling of the ocean. In the Midwest we made do with dug-out swimming pools, sprinklers watering our brittle grass. At 9am on sultry summer days, I’d ride my bike barefoot, making it to the community pool in time for the sweet shop to open.

Those days were fun, to be sure. The pools were exotic and fun and bursting with the tanned squeals of life and the possibility of first loves.

But today, from where I sit, under the eaves of a café a hundred yards or so from our island coast, it’s not fun I’m looking for; our sea is too cold for that. I’ve a thirst to be quenched, a spiritual longing only the tide can meet.

In the water and the waves, I hear God speak.

I’m here. I’m still here. Come sit with Me awhile.

Our first term we settled one mile from the Irish Sea, spending our evenings picnicking in the boot (trunk) of our car, parked on a long stretch of beach when the tide was out. The River Boyne was just to the north of our tiny village, and no matter what we did on any given day, the water was always on our radar, at the edges of our sightline.

When we got lost, we’d look for the river or the sea, and instantly find our way.

Now we live in the suburbs along the banks of the Liffey, a valley filled with ancient trees and abundant allergies, willows and streams and meadows of rapeseed. It’s so close, we tend to forget it’s there, ignoring the water just within reach. Instead of the sea line, I tend to look for rain clouds, notice a haze shading the mountains. The sea no longer guides me home.

Maybe you are looking for a level line to tell you which way is up. Or perhaps it’s all storm clouds on the horizon, fogging up your previously clear vision.

Maybe the ocean is a thousand miles away and the swimming holes of your youth dried up and gone. Or maybe you’re lost in a dry and thirsty land, parched for something only a fresh sign from the Spirit can give.

I’m there, too, more days than I’d like to admit. I forget the nearness, the nourishment, the care He is always so willing to give.

For I will pour out water to quench your thirst and to irrigate your parched fields. And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your children. They will thrive like watered grass, like willows on a riverbank. Some will proudly claim ‘I belong to the Lord.’ Others will say, ‘I am a descendant of Jacob.’ Some will write the Lord’s name on their hands and will take the name of Israel as their own.

Isaiah 44:3-5 NLT

I am trying to listen, to recognize when I am oh so parched and beyond thirsty for living water. And I am trying to obey, to follow Him to the rivers and the sea (or even a dash through a sprinkler in Kansas), sometimes beyond.

It’s summer now, and with it some surprise seasonably warm days, not a rain cloud in sight. I searched my dresser for a sleeveless shirt and instead found my favourite jumper (sweater), folded and waiting.

TAKE ME TO THE SEA, it says, bedazzled in blue.

So I got up and went, knowing that He’ll meet me there.

Always.

~~~

This is The Grove and we want to hear from you! You can link up your blog post, or share your practices, ponderings, wisdom, questions, ideas, and creative expressions with us in the comments below.

Here’s our Instagram collection from this week using #VelvetAshesWater. You can add yours!

13 Comments

  1. Elizabeth July 27, 2017

    Karen, this is pure poetry. And I completely relate, although I can’t make it to the see nearly as often as you. Thank you for this gift. It makes me want to sit down with you over coffee. . . . on the seaside.

    1. Karen Huber July 29, 2017

      Thanks, Elizabeth! I’ll meet you there anytime. 🙂

  2. Joy July 28, 2017

    Karen, this is beautiful and exactly how I’ve been feeling lately. In the midst of craziness and searching for what peace looks like it in all the mess, I realized that it just takes turning my eyes back to him–drawing close to the water—to bring me back to his peace. Thanks!

    1. Karen Huber July 29, 2017

      Thanks, Joy. Thankful when others are feeling it, too, and can help me find the Way.

  3. Amy Young July 28, 2017

    I wonder if everyone feels something special about the water? I’m wondering if it is a way that God has wired eternity into us? I agree, there is just something about water :). Thanks for this piece that honors the specialness of water to our souls and well being!

    1. Karen Huber July 29, 2017

      Oh man, that’s such a good thought. I take a huge comfort in that. Thank you!

    2. Michele July 29, 2017

      I think it is part of our ‘wiring’ as humans! It may be that some people feel it more than others, but I don’t know anyone that isn’t drawn to it in some way- and kids always love it the most, right? I have loved all the posts under this theme, and this one especially moved me. I live in a beautiful, but land-locked country. The last couple of years I’ve been in a season of restoration and deep healing, and when I had to make a visa run that was also going to be a vacation, I knew I needed the sea! I spent two weeks on a beach in a small town in Thailand- hour after hour of communion with God watching and listening to those pounding waves. It was the most restful thing I have ever done and I am still feeling the effects of it!

    3. MaDonna July 30, 2017

      I think you are on to something, Amy. My mother who is scared to death of water didn’t mind sitting near the beach to see and watch the waves. She actually enjoyed that. I’m not sure she actually walked on the beach, but if she ever comes to visit us, I think we’ll get her to. =)

      Thanks Karen for sharing today. I’ve enjoyed living near the sea after living in “land-locked Missouri” during my growing up years. I can relate to the sprinklers for sure.

  4. Monica July 28, 2017

    I’ve loved the them of ‘WATER’ this week… and I especially resonated with this post. I am completely drawn in by water, whether sitting on a beach, splashing with my kids in a creek, or swimming in the ocean or a pool… it brings me such peace and a feeling of ‘weightlessness’ that somehow seeps into the depths of my soul. When we were land-locked in Asia, I would yearn for the roars of the ocean waves…so for me, I get what Karen is saying about “meet me at the sea”… for some, it’s a connection with God in nature that soothes the soul.

    1. Karen Huber July 29, 2017

      Thanks for the comment, Monica. I’m so glad you connected with this week… me, too! Such a comfort to see the common themes God gives to women, no matter where we are in the world. I feel for your land-locked moments. Not sure how I’ll ever go back to them!

  5. sarah July 30, 2017

    I totally get your itchy feeling to see the sea. 6 or 7 years ago, I suddenly made the life decision to try to go see the ocean at least once a year. And I’ve nearly accomplished that goal. And then about a year ago, in a time of deep pain, the Lord, quite unexpectedly to me, picked me up and plopped me on an island. Now, I wake up every morning, walk into my living room and behold the ocean. Every day I am grateful. Every day.
    Also, if I can figure out how, I’m going to tag on here an Amy Carmichael poem that’s spoken a lot to me over the years.

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