It’s spring break. I’m sitting here today on the boardwalk in Emerald Isle, NC, overlooking the ocean on this uniquely blue Sunday afternoon. The past 7 months of life away from this place have been everything other than what I expected, as this phase I’ve experienced in between has made my return feel like quite a long time coming. I now stare into the quiet, teal ocean, realizing what it and the beach crafted around it all means to me, with the sense that the mystical body of water now reaching me knew what tough changes in life I’d face since leaving it on that fading August day of the past summer’s end, all with good reason.
When I left the beach that day before heading back to school for sophomore year, I felt little sadness and much promise within me about getting back and achieving new goals I had set for myself as a college golfer, reconnecting with some of the best friends in my life I’d made in the year prior, and finally getting to take classes in my business major. It all seemed like it was going to be great at first. My young life at 19 years old was beginning to take shape as I entered my second year of college, looking to build off of a thriving freshman year in which I played every golf tournament, earned a top 10 finish in one event, made good grades even landing on the Dean’s list second semester, and felt popular and well-liked among all the new people I met at the college a part of me had now moved to. I thought all of this was really what I wanted, what I needed even. However, shortly after I returned back to school, some 7 hours and too long a trip away from the coastal comfort I had become accustomed to all summer long, just the opposite unfolded. The tide had shifted, and the ocean became rough.
I wondered why suddenly everything had shifted against my favor during first semester. So much had changed like where my friends lived now, and not hanging out with them as much as some of them lived further from campus and some completely gone out into the real world. Not only did who I socialized with began to change, but also my status around my teammates, as I hadn’t qualified for any of our fall tournaments, a major setback for me as I had expected to play them all just as I had done as a freshman, and do even better this year. I felt left out, as if I had let those down around me who always liked me when I was “on top” so to speak, some of myself also to blame for that, as I sometimes pushed those away who tried to speak to me or make things like they used to be around me. I wondered why I was having such a hard time, I didn’t know what I had done to deserve such bad breaks during what was becoming a storm. No matter how hard I tried to get my golf game back during those fall months and be a real part of the team again, it just wouldn’t happen. I started to just wanting it to be over. The high I had flaunted on during the summer just months before, had come way down, and my spirits were far from the ocean, mentally as far as physically.
Ironically, the ocean and the connection I began to form with it, the reason why I’m writing this journal today all began here at the beach last summer when I found a book in a nearby consignment shop here on the island. It has 4 books in it, and the one I read just before my school year started was tailor-made for me in what was about to unfold in my life over the next few months. I realized what a passion I had suddenly developed for novel/story reading, but knew I would have little time for it during the hectic school year starting up with business classes and number crunching and sacrificing time reading information text that I had no taste for and could barely stomach. This is when it all began to unfold, and quite frankly I don’t know how I got through the semester managing to pass all of my classes. I reached a point of not caring about my schoolwork or my failures I had gone through on the golf course, and began to turn to other hobbies such as hunting to try to change things up, hoping life would get better.
This is when I began to realize that maybe I didn’t want to get a job as some hot-shot business executive, living a stressful corporate life of always striving for profits and trying to impress those around you with how ironed your suit is. During this questionable time for me is when I began to write, I tried to write with the same creativity and charisma that the author of the novel I had read wrote with, and it comforted me in this time like nothing else could. Through all the frustrations that school brought and still brings me now as I pursue my degree and so many more responsibilities on the side, writing helps me make whatever of it I want, it makes me tick. Through this book I read while at the beach last summer, I realized that the characters in it had to fight for what was to important to them and work towards their dreams and trust certain guiding factors in their lives they were often unsure about. I saw how in this book, as well as in any other story one reads, the characters weren’t all accomplished and where they needed to be in the middle of the story, but ultimately had to make sacrifices for each other, work harder and even do certain things they didn’t want to do, in order to reach the happy ending, that we all long for. I believe all of this came together to help me to start writing, as I could have never seen such a time teaching me in the way it has taught me and shaping me to be more literary through the time I spent in isolation and in thought of where my life may be headed.
Looking back on these past few months, that I’ve only so recently overcome, I’ve realized how small I am, and how small my troubles are when compared to the ocean that so encompasses me now. It can’t be simply explained, like the complexities of the sea that I reflect over all this upon, but I know it happened to show me something about the path I’m on.
The ocean is so much more than just a big body of water that covers the earth. I look at it as one of God’s greatest creations that serves as a means for casting your troubles into it’s vastness, letting them to be lulled away by whatever gentle wave that washes ashore before pulling back out into the deep mysterious pool that meets the sky at some point. I love looking into it thinking of how Jesus walked across it, picturing it just how my mind sees it which gives me faith beyond measure in trusting the purpose for my life when I think about such an awe-inspiring thing taking place. At the point I’ve reached in my life today, I’m simply privileged to sit here overlooking such a phenomenon as the ocean, knowing that it is a part of me, as it knows my troubles as well as the problems of the world just as the One who created it. I’ve learned through my past experiences with it’s guidance, that whatever life events I overcome in struggle or triumph in victory, they’ll bring me back to the ocean after each time.