It was an amazing week in Sayulita, Mexico with our dear friends Paul and Denise. It was our first trip to a tropical location like this in twelve years. Everything about it was wonderful, but I had forgotten how much one simple aspect of it would affect me; the sound of the surf.
We spent our last full day there on the beach. Most of this post was written there, with the above view in front of me and the sound of the surf in my ears. I thought I might be inspired to write from there, and I was. The surf was gentle and fairly calm that day, and the sound of the waves coming ashore soothed my soul in a way that’s hard to describe.
One Lupron note. You know you’re on Lupron when you’re at the beach and you’re more interested in the bikini-clad girl’s dog than in the girl herself.
Despite the fact that I live in the inland mountain state of Colorado, I’ve always been drawn to the beach. I’ve always wanted to live on the beach, or at least in a beach town. Something about beach culture appeals to me. I think it’s my inner hippie coming out.
The house where we stayed was not very close to the beach, but it had a breathtaking view of the bay below us. The sound of the surf is always there. Until the outdoor live music in town started at 9:00 PM, which it did Every. Single. Night. Some kind of local festival was going on, which made things interesting. But the music didn’t keep me awake once, because the sound of the surf so deeply relaxed me throughout the day.
A couple of notes on the house where we stayed before I continue. We were frequently visited by a very friendly Cocker Spaniel, who belongs to the owner of the property. Her name is Lady. She helped me not to miss my Sookie so much.
And in our room, there was a statue of the Buddha. I decided that was a good place to hang the cross pendants I brought with me.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure how well I’d get through this trip, so soon after my last trip to visit my family. I thought I might have problems with my energy level, but I only needed one recovery day while we were there. That was Monday, after a strenuous three hour boat ride on choppy seas, holding on for dear life. But it was nothing sleeping in and taking a nap couldn’t cure.
I also stressed about the mere fact of being away from home for a week. I can’t explain it. It must be a security thing, but I find myself wanting to stay home these days. Overall, I feel like I’m in a weakened state. I feel very vulnerable outside my comfort zone. I don’t feel like I’m physically capable of things I used to do easily. So I have difficulty venturing outside what I feel is my “safe zone.”
One quick example from the trip. On the boat ride excursion we took, there was one place the boat stopped to allow passengers to swim to shore through a tunnel to a picturesque beach area. The trouble was, you had to jump into cold ocean water over your head to swim there, maybe a quarter of a mile. Two years ago, this would have been no problem for me. This time, there was no way. If I’d tried that, I don’t think I’d have had the strength to hold on for the ride back. Stuff like that reminded me of my reality while I was in paradise.
Even in paradise, I still had to take my medicine. I can’t think of a better way to take it than sitting on this balcony, looking out at the ocean, listening to the sound of the surf.
There’s something about the sound of the ocean, the sound of waves hitting the shore that relaxes me like nothing else does. Rough waters or calm, the ocean speaks to me. With the sound of each wave that washes ashore, I can exhale more deeply than I can anywhere else. The longer I’m near the ocean, the more the stress that’s been coiling up inside me since I found out I have cancer loosens. This was exactly what the doctor ordered. This. I had no idea how much I needed this.
For me, being near the ocean is being nearer to God. The ocean speaks to me of God’s faithfulness, his power, and his unchanging nature. When the waves are high like they were on Saturday, or choppy like they were when they were tossing our tiny boat on Sunday, the waves say, “Who are you to question the ways of the One who set the boundaries of the sea, and spoke the laws which govern it?” The ocean reminds us how small we are, and how big God is.
The crashing waves remind me how futile it is to ask Why Me. It’s like asking why a particular wave hit the rocks the way it did. The power of the waves reminds me to trust an all-powerful God.
When the waves are calm, like they were our last day on the beach, when I wrote most of this post, they’re like a gentle, caressing hand, massaging my soul. They say, “Relax, Mark, God’s got this.”
On the balcony of the house where we stayed, the sound of the surf is far away, but always there. It says, “God may seem far away, but he’s always with us.”
I brought my iPod and a Bluetooth speaker on this trip, like I always do when we travel. For the first few days, I used it. But after a while, I didn’t want to anymore. I’d rather listen to the sound of the surf. I can listen to music anytime.
This trip was an unexpected gift. Due to the state of our finances, we never expected to go on a trip like this again. My wife and I celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary this July, and when Paul and Denise invited us to join them in Sayulita, we decided to count it as our anniversary trip. We are so grateful to them for making this happen for us, and having them with us the whole time made it even better.
Because in the end, that’s what really shows the love of God, more than the waves. It’s the love of friends like these, in times like these.
Thankfully, Paul and Denise traveled back to Denver with us. We’ll be able to continue to see them. The sound of the surf followed me home too, but only in my soul. I hope to hear it again one day, but if not, I’m eternally grateful for this chance to hear the voice of God in the sound of the surf for a few days. #waroncancer