Lessons from the Ocean

by Vickie S. Watson, Community Relations Specialist

I was recently blessed with an impromptu invitation to visit a dear sister-friend at the beach for the weekend.  One evening while I was there, my sweet friend said she wanted us to walk along the beach and pick up some shells – a tradition, of sorts, for her and her family.  As we walked, she and I marveled at the idea that each of those shells, whether large or small, had contained a life at some point in time.

During our little adventure, she explained how she likes for people to pick out shells which can be inscribed with a name and date on the inside, as these become a part of a treasured collection for the purpose of prayer.  I thought about the idea of my name being written inside of the shell which had, at one time, been the embodiment of a life.  There was something quite significant about that concept to me.

Anyway, I walked along and found numerous shells of various sizes, shapes and colors.  There were some that I could tell had been battered by the waves, or broken by some unknown adversity.  I picked up some of those, as they seemed to symbolize various chapters in my life story.  I also picked up some that my grandson would say were “little bitty, tiny, baby shells,” because I thought about how he would have loved to be a part of this “treasure hunt.”  By the time I was finished, I had quite the collection.

At one point, I stepped out into the water, and as I basked in the infinite beauty of God’s glorious creation, I noticed how the waves would come in and go out.  As the wave would be pulled back into the enormity of the ocean, everything it touched was being washed away…slowly the shells and sand where being pulled back into the depths of the greatness of that amazing body of water.  I stood in awe, literally, at the magnitude of it all.  I thought about how remarkable it was to stand there, and as far as the eye could see, there was nothing but water…all the way to the horizon – the point where the sky “touches” the water.  It reminded me of the greatness of God and how He washes away all of our sin and brokenness.  Just as the waves wane and the water gets pulled back out into the depths, we become a part of the whole – the entire ocean of His love, grace and mercy. It was truly an inspiring moment.

So, then I began to think about the song “Oceans” by Hillsong United and how it relates to our life, in general.  The lyrics to the song talk about how there are times we are called out to “the great unknown, where feet may fail.”  It is in those times we find strength and solace in the sovereignty of God.  We can keep our eyes above the waves and rest in His embrace.

The lyrics to the song also made me think of the patients and families we, at Hospice of Marshall County-Shepherd’s Cove, are honored and privileged to serve.  We are companioning people through some of the “greatest unknowns” they have ever faced.  Sometimes they may feel as though they are being tossed about by the waves.  Sometimes they may feel that fear surrounds them.  But we want them to know they are not alone.  We are here.   We will walk beside them and provide the care, comfort, and support needed during those times when the “oceans rise” and “feet may fail.”

If you have a moment…listen to the song that was part of the inspiration for this post.  Perhaps you, too, will find comfort and encouragement in its words.