Every time I stand looking at the ocean, I think of Duane. I wasn’t there with him when he saw it for the first time, but his brother told me that he just stood there, looking and looking and looking. I wonder what he might have been thinking about. I see him in my mind’s eye, mesmerized. It’s so big. Maybe he was overwhelmed by the bigness, the vastness of it.
Then I imagine him standing there with me, looking at it. I’ll never forget a conversation that he and I had one day about heaven. We were wondering - in fact, we were both beginning to believe, that rather than it being a place “way out there” somewhere, that it just might be….right here (just reach your hand out) within reach….just another realm. So I wonder if he might be right there with me, in that other realm…the one that this realm that we inhabit is merely a shadow of….just on the other side of a veil that I can’t penetrate, where it’s beautiful and perfect and peaceful beyond imagining.
I never get tired of going to the ocean. I think of Duane when I’m there, and I think of Jesus, the One Who created the ocean. I love watching the waves come in and listening to the sound of it. And every time I am on the beach, I think of the phrase “sea billows roll.” I couldn’t remember what song that phrase came from, and it kept going through my mind, so I looked it up online. It’s in two songs - “It is Well With My Soul” talks about “when sorrows like sea billows roll,” and “Since Jesus Came Into My Heart.” That one says, "Since Jesus came into my heart, Since Jesus came into my heart; Floods of joy o’er my soul like the sea billows roll, Since Jesus came into my heart." I certainly have had "sorrows like sea billows roll," but because Jesus is real in my life, it IS well with my soul. I sing those songs as I walk the beach.
As I watch the waves roll in, I think of how God’s love is never-ending. It just keeps coming and coming and coming. It’s endless. His mercy is endless. His grace is endless. I thank Him for the ocean and all that I see and experience there. I thank Him for His presence, for His love, for His mercy. I thank Him for Him. As a mother, I still wish that Duane was here with us, but since he's not, I'm thankful that he is safe and sound and fulfilled, with Jesus. I like to imagine him decorating the family mansion with his artwork.
So as I walk the beach, I sometimes imagine both Jesus and Duane walking with me. The Bible says of those who know the Lord, that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord and it says that He has promised to never leave me - so, if Duane is with Him and He is with me, then....Duane must be with me too. All of us who miss him can find comfort in that.
Here's Duane when I dropped him off at the airport to go to Florida to visit his brother. I think he was about twelve or thirteen years old. I was a little nervous, but I had talked to the airline and was sure they would take good care of him. He had a great time in Florida.
Did you ever lay on the beach, on your belly, and just dig down in the sand, letting the grains run through your fingers? I do. When I do, I think about several Scriptures that mention the grains of sand. Like God told Abraham that he would have descendants as numerous as the grains of sand. That's a lot of descendants!!
But my favorite one tells me that God's thoughts toward me are more than the grains of sand. How amazing is that!