Serenity in the Ocean Depths
By: Donna Haug
June 30, 2003
Over the years I have lived in cities or towns by the Atlantic Ocean both in North and South America, the Pacific Ocean in Canada and now the Indian Ocean in Africa. I am fascinated by the ocean! My idea of fascination, however, differs drastically from my husband’s. He sees a boat of any kind on the water and he longs to be out there in it! MY idea of appreciating the ocean, on the other hand, is strolling along the boardwalk, walking on the beach with my kids collecting shells or maybe even playing in the surf as long as it’s not too rough, the undertow is not too strong, and I know where the bottom is!
During our vacation last January, our family was tenting at a campsite right on the Indian Ocean. We rented a small motor boat for the afternoon and were taken to a little island off the famous Bazaruto Islands, called Santa Carolina. To give you a hint of the beauty of this place, the island is nicknamed “Paradise Island”! It is a deserted bit of land with gorgeous white beaches, palm trees, clear blue water, and a small coral reef.
My husband, Mark, and our three children piled onto the boat and dragged me in behind. Now, I’m not afraid of boats … I just like land! As we started out on the 40 minute trip to the island, the first thing I noticed was that this was not going to be a smooth ride. The choppiness of the waves banged and shook me to bits as I sat in the middle of the boat hanging onto my 5 year old son for dear life!
Upon arrival on the island we were more then rewarded for the trip. It was more beautiful then we had imagined! The sand was hot and encouraged us to hurry down to the wonderfully refreshing, crystal clear water. Our guide had one set of snorkeling gear on board and offered us an opportunity to try it out. My husband had done this many times before, so he allowed the children and me to give it a whirl. As I followed my children around, they kept popping back out of the water to tell me about something else they had seen below the surface. The water was so clear and yet I couldn’t see much from where I stood. But when I pulled on the goggles, choked on the mouthpiece and tripped on the flippers, it was MY turn to start popping my head up out of the water! I could not believe how much LIFE was down there! As I swam around the coral reef, I saw it was teeming with life. The fish swarmed around us just outside our reach – hundreds of them! And such colors! The other thing that struck me was that it was so peaceful and quiet down there. Farther out the water was getting choppier by the minute; yet under the water there was a calm that was indescribable.
All too quickly the time came for us to head back to the mainland to continue our journey. We once again piled into the boat and headed out to the open ocean. The waves had picked up and the wind was stronger. If I had felt banged around on the way to the island, on the way back I was in for a real treat! I was hanging on so tightly with both my hands and feet anchored to the seat, it caused cramps in my muscles. I continually got sprayed with the water as the boat slammed into wave after wave. As we finally reached the shore, I felt like I was still vibrating all over. I was extremely glad to stand on solid ground once more!
Does your life ever feel choppy and windy? Do you get tossed about and hang on for all you are worth? I have been there. Life can be like that. There are times you feel like your hair will fall out – sometimes it does! But Jesus wants you to know that you too can have that same deep inner peace which does not depend on the circumstances of your life. Below the surface, deep down in your soul, you can remain peaceful, calm and full of life! Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27 NKJV) So next time you’re getting jostled about or feel like you are hanging on for dear life with both hands and feet … remember that God offers you peace deep down inside that is not affected by circumstances. You can rest in Him!
Donna - this is so true -- thank you so much for this story -- it is absolutely wonderful and again -- the ocean is one of the best things that God created, and then there are the mountains, valleys, lakes, deserts, the trees, grass, flowers, critters, and of course.....Debbie
No wonder you chose 'ocean' as the writing prompt - with experiences like that to relate! I've always been amazed by scenes of underwater life, seen only in film and video. You've also challenged us well to look beneath surface turmoil to the inner peace we can have in Christ, if we choose to look for it and embrace it.
Donna, your life experiences give you such a wealth of writing material to share with the rest of the world! I have nowhere near the same stories but I can relate to this one. I was in the Navy for 5 years on some pretty small ships. There were times I actually thought we were going to sink and life was over. God spoke to me in so many ways out on the ocean! Thanks again for the great story! -Patrick