The last time I visited Blake's grave I brought shells, sand, and sea glass as a gift for his birthday. I did this because he loved the beach, especially the beaches of San Diego. We always planned that I would move here for graduate school and he would join me soon after. This gift was my way to bring the beach to him, showing we can share San Diego in a symbolic way. And as an ongoing reminder that I have the honor and privilege of living our dream for both of us, I decided to bring bits of the beach to give him every time I come to visit.
So in order to find Blake's anniversary presents, I walked to the beach at the end of my street. But what started out as a quick way to listen to my heart, turned into hours of connecting with the ocean. I was mesmerized by the tide and its enchanting pull. I watched as it rushed over my sea gems, clouded and concealed them, and then revealed all that I saw before and more.
The tide followed the same pattern over and over again, but somehow it kept teaching me different lessons. At first I learned how to rethink my disappointment when a pretty shell that I wanted got swept away. I was excited to find something beautiful, so when the water took it I got upset. But as this kept happening I started to realize that the shell wasn't mine to begin with; it belonged to the ocean. Because of this, I didn't actually lose anything. I was lucky to see the pretty shell for as long as I did, so I learned to let it go with peace and gratitude.
Eventually I transitioned from that lesson to a lesson about the power of patience. Instead of searching for shells, I started to let them come to me. I just stood there, basking in the sun, floating in the wind, and feeling like part of the ocean. When I looked down, the tide would retreat back just long enough for me to pick up what it had left for me. I knew what was there was mine to take because I didn't reach for it, it reached for me.
There is so much more I could write about the ocean. After Blake and my trip to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium back in May, we talked for hours about how magical it is. Not only does the ocean have a pulse, as evidenced by the tide, it also has a soul. If you are quiet enough, you can hear it speak to you. And if you are open enough, it has gifts for you to collect. Not only in the form of shells and rocks, but in lessons about how to live your life connected to the beauty of the world.