By Rachel H.T. Mendell
The first time I saw the ocean we were driving in San Franscico on a street called Straight. (The real name of the street is Lombard.)
My mom made a big deal of it, and I was hooked.
“Here we go!” she announced.
We had driven hours and hours in the heat (this was before cars had air conditioning), through unforgiving deserts on steaming hot highways. Our Chevy Impala (shiny black with a white top) was comfortable, but even the breeze the open windows allowed was hot. We were cooled by our sweat.
When we reached San Francisco, the air freshened, thousands of green trees welcomed us and I almost asked my parents if we could move there. At that moment Phoenix seemed blanched and dusty.
Up the hill, slowly. Our car no longer struggled since my dad had flipped the air filter so the carborator would work better.
We were at the top. My dad paused for drama. My mom loved dramatics.
Then over the crest we went – slowly, slowly, down, back and forth, trees and bushes blocking the view I was supposed to see. I strained toward the view, leaning into the front seat.
“There's the ocean!” My mom's voice was hushed in a sacred moment. Looking back now I realize this was a huge deal for her.
And we meant it.
The ocean stretched out before us an expanse of gray blue quicksilver. I couldn't look at it enough.
“When will we get there?” asked my brother.
“It will be a while before we can find a beach or a dock or something,” said my mom. But her confidence was enough for me.
I would get to touch the ocean.
It was several hours before I put my bare feet in the water. In that warm, wet moment it was as if I had arrived. My dad rolled up his pant legs and went in as far as he could without getting them wet. The waves weren't as huge as I thought they would be, but my mom assured us we would spend a lot more time soaking our feet in salt water when we arrived at our final destination.
Looking back to that day, I know why God made the ocean.
We needed a visual, physical picture of His Love.
Each day I travel that road up the hill as I read my Bible passages for the day, waiting patiently for The View to appear.
And it does.
And I am awed once again. God's Love is so huge and wide and long and deep, never ending, always there even if I can't see it.
And I decend slowly, back and forth, putting on my mental brakes 'cause I don't want to go too fast, along the windy road of understanding, until I reach that place of peace where I place my feet and soak in the feeling of arrival ...
… at The Ocean of His Love.