My Netflix recently watched will forever and always show the option for Gilmore Girls. I can’t help it. The dialogue is complete comfort for me to have on in the background while I am cleaning or cooking or moving about my home. And there is a particular line that’s been in my head all day, when Rory tells Logan – “You know the beginning of Moby Dick, when the narrator says that when he finds himself growing grim about the mouth and wanted to knock people’s hats off, he takes to the sea?” I don’t really feel like taking too many hats off this week, but I for sure can relate to wanting to take to the sea.
You see, there are a few key things that happen in me when I become stressed or worry, and they are in full force as September has been a month bubbling over with life anxiety.
First, and probably more often than I notice, I pull at the front strands of my hair. My mom will tell you that when I was younger, she could tell I was stressed because I would twirl and pull my bangs upward through my fingers. As an adult, I unconsciously still do this. One time, in college, while rehearsing the cast of my senior thesis before a performance, I looked down at my notes only to look back up to see my entire cast of 16 girls mirroring me pulling at my bangs. That’s true friendship right there.
The second thing, I too get the urge to “take to the sea.” Or at least some form of water if I am able, at the very least a need to stand outside in an open space. My parents are staying in a rented shore house this week and I have twice driven down after work just for the sheer reason of getting myself near water. The house is in a spectacular spot where out front is the ocean, wild and crashing from the swells of the current storm, and out back is the bay, water still while tall grasses whistle in reply to the movement across the dunes. I am perhaps one of the few that desire to go to the shore in a rain storm. It is so deeply calming to me. It is constant, and powerful, and reminds me that the things I am stressing about today are minuscule to the generations coming after me who will also stand here and look at the same sea. It is powerful in a way that reminds me of my humanness. It is music and movement, my spirit language.
We all have our little nuances that signal to us we are stressed and we all have our unique methods of soothing our anxieties. So while taking to the sea, I also had a few songs by Nichole Nordeman on repeat. I saw this incredible woman speak a few weeks ago. I was so moved by her bravery to share about her life, in all of its seasons, and how every single one is a part of who she is. Her lyrics combined with the beautiful layers of her music remind me:
…of my continual process of turning worry over to God:
I’ll gather the same stones where
Everything came crashing down
I’ll build you an altar there
On the same ground
Because what stood before
Was never yours
This is the unmaking
Beauty and the breaking
Had to lose myself to find out who you are
Before each beginning
There must be an ending
Sitting in the rubble
I can see the stars
…that all of this, even my every day, is so much bigger than me. And the more I try to selfishly try to make it about me, the emptier it feels. But the more I give it up, the more I find myself growing and compassionate and purpose filled and whole.
All the toil
All in vain
Every image of ourselves that we create
Built on sand
Every castle slips away when tides come in
Let us not imagine
That we might have a hand in where the wind blows
Where grace goes
Let not any passion be for kingdoms we have fashioned in our own name
For our own fame
that I am capable of so much when I move with heart, courage, curiosity, and a mountain of prayer.
You are not your ashes, you are a flame.
that above it all, my deepest desire and goal is to love God and love others. full stop. period.
I love You
I’m trying to
Love You more
Please help me
Love You more
So tonight, and earlier this week, I took to the sea. And in between I also sought encouragement and a place to vent and to grow from friends who love me, no matter what state my hair is in from being twisted and twirled and run through a hundred times. I spent time outside on my deck when it was nice and listened instead of planned and stressed. I laughed through group texts and ridiculous snapchats. And I remained focused on the constants that ground me and that won’t go away, just as the ocean doesn’t blow away after a storm.