Living along the Oregon Coast these past years has deepened my love of the ocean. The sounds of crashing waves, the salty sea air, the long walks on deserted stretches of sand, collecting shells, and enjoying the quiet.
The beach has become one of my favorite happy places. It has become a healing balm. It is a place where I can feel the tension slowly drain from my shoulders, and where my mind and racing thoughts slow down.
It’s also become my thinking place, my praying place, and my journaling place. As I walk, head tilted down to watch for shells, that I don’t need but can’t help but look, my heart stills, and I tend to start to pray.
It’s the stillness that keeps drawing me back.
Which of course is strange since the beach is not still. The waves always crash, the landscape changes with every incoming and outgoing tide, and the weather, you never know what it’s going to be like. The beach is full of power and majesty. It is not still. And yet, that is where I long to go when I need a break, and when I know Bailey needs a nice long run.
One of my favorite beaches to visit is Bandon Beach, in Bandon, Oregon. It has some of the most beautiful rock formations, at low tide, miles of beach upon which to walk, and some of my favorite photographs have come from being on this beach at sunset.
In October I had the opportunity to go back down twice with family, with house hunting, and just needing a brain break. It was wonderful, and as always the time went too fast.
This is also the beach where Bailey gets charged by other dogs most often! It happened again on one of these trips. I don’t know why… but that is a story for another time. But even with that, it is one of my favorite parts of the magnificent Oregon coastline.
With long walks on the beach comes time to think, to pray, to analyze, to dream, to wonder, to plan, and for ideas to flow. Enjoying the stillness, enjoying Bailey’s joy at the freedom to run, play, sniff, and explore has once again reinforced my desire for finding stillness.
I’m not good at it. I struggle with placing boundaries on my work taking over my entire day. I struggle with balancing travel with spending time at home. It has been a long, discouraging search in looking for a home; thankfully that search is done! I struggle with always wanting to learn something new, create a new product for my business, and so much more.
On the one hand, I crave stillness, on the other hand, I sometimes run away from it in my desire to keep moving and trying, and striving. It’s something that I kept thinking about in my long walks on the beach.
From these quiet times of walking and reflecting a desire has arisen to understand Sabbath. What is it, what does it mean, and how does it apply to our lives today. I’m reading excellent books that are teaching me and showing me what rest looks like and what it means to observe the Sabbath.
What I know right now is that Sabbath, at the core, is two things. First, it is finding rest, the rest of God. And second, it is about trusting God. It is trust that you are placing your schedule, your family, your projects, your plans, your business, and your efforts into His most capable hands.
It’s a subject I know I’ll be reflecting more upon in the coming weeks and sharing with you what I learn.
Where is your happy place?
Marta Goertzen is an entrepreneur, writer and nature photographer. She daily explores the trails and beaches of the South Central Oregon Coast with her buddy Bailey. You can follow along on their adventures on Instagram. She is also the author of several books including her newest, “Choosing Gratitude: A Daily Quiet Time Journal”.