Swimming in Saltwater Memory

So we’re at the beach this week. And it’s supposed to rain all week. When we got here last night, my plan was to go out and walk on the beach at night and stargaze. Poetic, right? But it was gray and cloudy and raining. Thankfully, this morning there was a break in the rain and we got to hit the water!

I love swimming in the ocean. Not really swimming, I guess. Just being. I love the saltiness, the power, the beauty of the water.

I can’t go to the ocean without thinking of Thailand. I don’t want to replicate this post, but there’s something about oceans – like they’re anchors, landmarks of my life. Part of it is they are tied to so many memories. Seeing a falling star on the beach with my brother and our missionary “cousin” Deborah. Jumping waves with my dad and brother. Being freaked out by jellyfish; getting stung by a jellyfish (it’s not that bad). Biking on the beach with my friend Christine on our senior trip. Riding – and falling off of – a banana boat. The calm I felt when sitting in the sand, sun on my body, my eyes following the breaking waves.

But part of it is spiritual. When I’m at the ocean, it’s easy to believe in God. Nothing else matters but the white foam coursing down the beach, the constant movement of what must be God’s arms churning up the water. A place where the physical world and the spiritual world mingle.

Away from this, in my real life, I get too distracted for God. Life gets swallowed up in schedules and activities and must-dos. My spirit suffers.

These lyrics are from the song “Saltwater Room” by Owl City.  I think it’s supposed to be a love song, so maybe this is mine, to God.

I opened my eyes last night, and saw you in the low light
Walking down by the bay, on the shore, staring up at the stars that aren’t there anymore

Time together isn’t ever quite enough
When you and I are alone, I’ve never felt so at home
What will it take to make or break this hint of love?
Only time, only time

When we’re apart whatever are you thinking of?
If this is what I call home, why does it feel so alone?
So tell me darling, do you wish we’d fall in love?
All the time, all the time


  1. Crystal Larrison says:

    Jesse and I were in Gulf Shores last week and we said something similar: “How can people deny there is a God when you look out at the enormity of the ocean and look up at the heavens in the sky?” I was standing on the beach one night and looking up at the night sky and seeing the Milky Way while listening to the waves crash on the shore, it just makes you feel so small.

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