I wanted to get up early and walk on the beach at sunrise, but I guess I was so exhausted from my long drive yesterday and busy evening (also stayed up late blogging about it and chatting with my son) that my body needed extra sleep, and I didn’t get up until about 1 PM!
No worries though. My son has to work all night tonight so he was still asleep too. I quietly ate some cereal and headed out. I decided to go back to Rees Park, where we witnessed the sun set last night. I felt like it was calling me back. This time I had the presence of mind to wear a swimsuit.
The day was hot, very hot–95 degrees and very sunny. I drove to Rees Park and immediately smelled the ocean smell and felt the soothing sea breeze, making it seem cooler. I noticed that unlike last night when we were there at low tide, the tide was now coming in. There were no sandbars and there were very small waves (really, more like ripples), and a lot less of the beach was visible. Banks of puffy white clouds dotted the horizon against the bright, almost electric blue of the sky.
I took off my sandals and stepped into the water. It was as warm as bathwater! So unlike the ocean water further north, even as far south as Myrtle Beach. Of course, this was the Gulf, a smaller body of water than the Atlantic Ocean, so that probably had a lot to do with the very warm temperature.
I waded out into the water, and when I looked down, I saw small schools of tan colored fish swimming around my feet. I squeezed my toes into the very fine, silt-like sand, an lowered myself into the water. It was like sinking into a bathtub, only so much better.
I closed my eyes and used the rest of my senses to feel nature around me. I felt the ripples gently rocking me, and I just let my body respond to that, rolling over and floating and stretching every part of me that could be stretched. I breathed in the salty air and listened to the seagulls on the shore. I scooped up some of the silt-like sand into my hands, and squeezed the water out of it until the claylike substance squeezed out between my fingers and left a small ball in my hands. I looked at it and could see many tiny shells and fragments of shells studded throughout the ball. It felt so nice in my hands I decided to rub it all over my arms and then lifted my legs out of the water and rubbed some of it on those too.
I looked around me and saw a few other people, also just relaxing and enjoying nature. I had a short conversation with a woman lying in the water nearby, who was visiting her mother. She said this was better than going to a spa, and I agreed.
I just sat there, not caring that the tide was now getting dangerously close to where I’d laid my things. I looked down into the clear greenish water and then looked out where it seemed to stretch out into infinity, becoming dark blue as it receded into the distance. I looked down again and there were those little fish swimming all around me, as if protecting me. I looked back at the beach and gazed at the palm trees and listened to the hissing of their fronds in the gentle breeze. For a rare moment, I was completely in the moment, not worrying about the future or fretting over something in the past. I just was me, just a part of nature. Not my ego or my achievements or my failures or my fear or my anger or my shame. Just me.
I felt the healing energy of the sun, sand and water that cradled me, and realized that this was all God’s doing. It wasn’t the water rocking and comforting me, it was God holding me gently and using the warm water to do that. I never felt like I got that from my family or anyone else I loved, but God has always been there, always ready to hold and comfort me. All I had to do was ask and be open to it, which requires you to let go of defenses and become vulnerable. Being in nature helps you do that. I felt a lump of gratitude form in my throat and thanked him for bringing me to this place. Through grace, I knew I would be healed, that one day my mental disorders would be a thing of the past.
When I got back to the apartment, I found out an answer to an earlier prayer was answered favorably. I think that has everything to do with what I found out on the beach today.