Friday, May 13, 2011

Seaside Walk

According to World Resource Institute, Earthtrends. "Overall 38% of the world's population lives within 100 km of the coast or estuaries, and 44% live within 150 km of the coast. The number of people living within 100 km of the coast increased from roughly 2 billion in 1990 to 2.2 billion in 1995—39 percent of the world's population. Thus, each year roughly 50 million more people move into the coastal zone worldwide."

In September 1962, John F. Kennedy, Speech gave a speech before the America’s Cup Races, in which he acknowledged man's tie to the sea. "All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood, that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came."

When I was a graduate student in Environmental Science specializing in Marine Ecology and Habitats central to my course work was water chemistry.  Many hours were spent taking and analyzing samples and then researching how the particulates would affect the inhabitants both in and near the water's edge.

But to me this tie to the sea has been as much spiritual as it is physical if not more so.

In John 3:3,5 - Jesus says, "Truly, truly, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." When Jesus said "water and the Spirit," He was referring to baptism. 

Jesus invited the thirsty to come to him and drink, and "from within him rivers of living water shall flow." (John 7:37-38) John 5:6  states "This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ." 

Zechariah 13, 1 speaking of the crucifixation says "On that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity."

John 19:34 states that when Jesus's side was pierced "Immediately blood and water flowed out." (Blood, a sign of his life and Water, the Spirit living within him).

Much of Jesus’ earthly ministry centered around the Sea . He recruited 4 of his disciples from fishermen. A majority of his parables involve water and most of his miracles were preformed near the sea including his walking on water, calming the storm, and his feeding five thousand people. The Sermon on the Mount, was given on a hill overlooking the lake of Galilee. 
Theologians commenting on the significance of the sea to Christianity "That the sea denotes a collection of memory-knowledges, comes from the fact that waters, springs, and rivers, signify truths, and therefore collections of these are signified by seas."

Earnest Hemingway in his book The Old Man and the Sea, used this symbolism to portray his message The Old Man Santiago symbolizes Christ and the young boy Manolin symbolizes his disciples. The marlin, scholars state represents strength, beauty and the last challenge we all go though.

I guess part of the draw to the sea was ancestral passed down if not through the genes - instilled through my mother (read my side bar profile) and the ancestral love for the sea in my family. My grandfather and his best friend handmade a Yawl they used race in the Great Lakes.

At least 3 generations in my familywere raised on or near the the banks of a sea. John Ebsworth took his family to live near the lakeside in Chicago. Heaton took his family to Glencoe and built a house on the lake beach after many years living less than a mile near lakeside in Chicago. Grandmother and Grandfather Hill brought up my Aunt Milancie and mother in that house and they were taught to sail at very young ages and I and my sister grew up on the banks of the Halifax in a sleepy little beach town. And now nearby my home flows the Indian River Lagoon.

My Grandmother had craftsman bungalow with large airy porches overlooking the inter coastal in Ormond Beach and from there it was only 15 minutes by bike over the bridge to the beach and I could feel the ocean lapping over my toes as I waded. So the seas both the one we lived by and the one we visited daily became an integral part of life, they became a refuge – the only place where all the pieces fell into place.

Early in life I concocted my own form of meditation which I still practice. When I am scared or life gets too complex I shut my eyes and breath deeply and slow my heart rate letting my mind's eye carry me the distance to the water and back in time. I am a small child holding Jesus' hand (just he and I) walking slowly and observing and listening as he calms my soul. Sometimes it is beside a mountain's stream and I can hear the trickling of the waters as they wind their way through the rocks. Other times it is the calming lapping of the waves on the shore of a lake or river. Still other times I can feel the spray on my cheeks as the ocean roars towards me. And as the water covers and cools my toes the sea calms my soul. And then  Jesus lets go of my hand and watches smiling as I skip merrily away to rediscover all the wonderous beauty, always knowing when I fall he will again pick me up and when storms gather and rage he will once again hold tight my hand keeping me safe!

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