"He Restores My Soul"

For many years, I never cared much for the beach. With it came the hassle of lugging towels and food and a change of clothes and shoes, all of which would get covered in sand in the process. Even eating was rather unappealing, as grits of sand would inevitably end up somewhere in my food and later in my mouth. Swimming meant that with every wave, salt would burn my eyes, and after swimming for too long, I'd start to swallow the salty water and feel sick. And as my imagination wandered, guessing what could be swimming around with me in the murky water, I decided to get out for a while and take a walk along the shoreline. I always was walking around with dirty feet, trying to protect them from broken shells, glass, crabs, jellyfish, and anything else that could damage them along the shore. And even when it was time to go and I washed them, sand would still find me and squish between my toes and flap between my flip flops, causing some discomfort and irritation. Showering afterward back at the hotel was the best part of the experience, when all of the sand collected in unexpected areas came off, and I was completely clean again and could also eat food without worrying about grits of sand.

But this year.....my opinion of the beach changed drastically.

Living in one of the biggest cities in the world, surrounded by noise, air pollution, light pollution, merely manmade things, and a hustle and bustle one could never imagine without experiencing it, led me to appreciate nature in a way that I never had before. Last year I took up hiking as my escape from the city, but this year, it has been the sea.

There is something very special about the sea and all the little islands I've visited in Korea. They have taught me to love what I used to hate. Now I regal to take off my socks and shoes and squish my toes into the sandy shore and wade out into the sea, whether or not I have a change of clothes available or an opportunity to wash off the dirtiness of it all. I have sudden urges to swim, and when I am able to do so, an indescribable joy arises within my heart. Granted, in Korea, I can see what lies below, and it is nothing but lovely water and sand filled with shells and crabs--that or lots of mossy rocks, mussels, and seaweed.

The silence and tranquility I can experience walking down the seashore, listening to seagulls, watching children learn how to fish, and petting puppies here and there refresh my spirit. The peacefulness of the cool breeze running through my hair and refreshing my lungs with its purity gives me great pleasure. The slowly rolling waves and a walk along the shore at sunrise or sunset thrill my soul....they thrill all that within is crying out for what it has been deprived of for so long. Nature. Now the dirtiness doesn't seem dirty....it has become a welcome reality of nature. And watching the clouds and sky fill with colors at the rising or setting of the sun reminds me of God's continual love for humanity. Although we have so damaged this world, one thing we have no ability to damage or take away is the sunrise and sunset. It it His new creation every day, filled with beauty in His expressions of love. How often do we take the time to look up--to see this wondrous act of nature--and remember its Creator--our Creator? 

Now the words of the Psalmist have come to mean more to me....they have come alive to me: "He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul" (from Psalm 23).

*I took these pictures at Seonjae Island in Korea (West Sea).

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful word pictures (and beautiful photos as well)! You're right, the sea in Korea is special. My favourite beaches there were Naksan (near Sokcho), and the beaches in Busan and on U-do (off of Jeju-do).