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An Ocean Wide

July 1, 2016

 

A week ago today, I started crying while standing in the Atlantic Ocean at 11 PM. It was a lot of salt water for one night if we're being totally honest.

My youngest sister Carly traveled to South Carolina for an archery tournament last weekend, and I was allowed to tag along and enjoy the beach. What I didn't expect was a heart-wrenching moment while standing next to my sister.

There's something about the beach. It makes things happen.

I made memories by the ocean with my closest friends.

I got baptized in the ocean while being loved by my church family.

I kissed the first boy I loved while standing on the shore of the ocean.

I stood in the ocean and talked about Jesus with my baby sister.

I have these beautiful memories, but every single one of them contains a loss.

Those friends are scattered across the country now.

I don't have that church family anymore.

I lost that boy that I loved.

And that sweet baby sister that I adore? In a few weeks, I'll live 400 miles away from her permanently. That was a dark and startling realization.

Throughout college, I always had the promise of home. I would always go home for Christmas and I would have a few weeks during the summer. I would be able to watch my family grow. Now? I don't know what I have left with them. I don't know what life will hold or what the last years of my sisters' growing years will look like.

Change is this ocean, infinitely wide and ever-present. We are always standing on the shore of change, never knowing when the tide will roll over our feet, surprising us with how cold or warm or stunning it is. We never know what to watch for. We only know that the tide will come and that we must prepare for the tsunamis, hurricanes or gentle waves that life will send our way.

I never liked change, but in that moment in the dark waters of the ocean, I was reminded that through the constant change, we are surrounded by the Creator of change. He gave us this life and these choices that lead to the changes we face, but through the wind and the waves, He remains constant.

Carly rocked her tournament, and I took joy in the moments that became memories, the giggles that turned into joy for the weekend and the love for life that has lasted for her entire existence.

In those moments where we fear change, we can take comfort in the solidarity of the present, in its simplicity and quiet.

Change is an ocean wide, but the Maker of the oceans stands beside us through it all.

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