I've stood at the edge of the ocean many times in the past 40 years.
As a child we used to go to Cannon Beach, Oregon in the fall.
I can remember bundling up and walking along the shore with my parents and my brother as we were all battered by the rain and wind. Despite wondering why we always went in the fall and not in the summer, the stormy weather was quite fun - leaning into the strong winds, watching the waves crash on the shore. And while I haven't been back to Cannon Beach since I was probably in high school, I have been to many beaches since then. I've been to many California coastlines - San Diego, Oceanside, Carmel, Monterey, Big Sur, Santa Cruz. To Iron Springs in Washington about four times. And finally to Newport, Oregon this past September.
When I stand at the edge of the ocean I'm usually and strangely overwhelmed with wonder at the thought that way out there on the other side there are other countries and people standing on different shorelines. People with a different culture, who likely speak a different language. People just like me - living their life - school, work, kids, family. It's so easy to get caught-up in the little world around us - what's going on in our city and state and country. I often forget that there are all these other people in other places doing their own living of life.
Standing at the edge there I feel put in place, so to speak. I am reminded that I am one of billions.
That's not to say I don't matter. But rather it invokes a feeling in me that there are so many of us on this earth and each one of us does matter. Regardless of our lifestyle, religion, skin color, race, financial situation... each one of us matters. I don't know about you, but it's kind of mind-blowing for me.
To stand at the edge of the continent
water lapping at my feet.
Knowing that water has touched so many other people out there.
And knowing that there is likely someone on the other side, on the edge of that other continent, who perhaps is thinking the same things and marveling at the beauty of God's creation.
(top photo - Newport, Oregon/bottom photos - Santa Cruz, California)