Recently my mom and I took a trip to Newport, Oregon where we enjoyed parts of the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway. As an adult, I had never been to this part of Oregon and it had been several years since my mom was able to go. The view was amazing, the ocean was spectacular and if you can go, it is worth the trip.
We were looking forward to the trip but from the beginning to the end of it, we had some surprises in store. Who knew that we would learn so many things about God and about ourselves during this trip? In the early morning hours, we made our way to the airport where we would leave Boise, Idaho and travel to Eugene, Oregon by way of Seattle, Washington. It looked great on paper, it really did. Long story short, we couldn’t get clearance to land in Seattle, so we waited. And then we waited some more. We sat on the tarmac in Boise for about 45 minutes before we ever flew into Seattle. I’ll bet you know what is coming next, don’t you? You guessed it, we missed our connecting flight and the next one didn’t go out for another 5 hours, and yes, I said 5 hours.
Well, the 5-hour layover turned into 8 hours in the Seattle airport. One of these blog posts I’ll have to share with you a few things that happened on the way to Newport, but alas, not in this one. We finally made it to Eugene and still had another 2-hour drive until we hit Newport. By the time we reached Newport around 10:00 p.m., both of us were exhausted. The minute we got to the hotel room and opened the door though, we could hear the very thing we had taken this trip to see, the ocean. We were here! It was worth the 8-hour layover and the 2-hour drive.
We could see shadows of it as we moved closer to the sliding glass door, but it was mostly dark. However, the saving grace of the whole day was the sound. The sound was coming from the ocean right in front of us. There is something so soothing about the waves hitting the beach. It resonates inwardly and touches a place deep inside that washes away the stressful experiences of the day.
When we woke up the next morning, the first thing we did was watch the sun rise. Like the unfolding of a painting as the colors are added to the canvas, the sun rose up and let us know it was there. The waves on the ocean continued to brush the shores and the ever present and welcome sounds emanating from the water, brought with them a sense of peace.
As we headed out for a day trip, our first stop was Lincoln City, through Depoe Bay. In Lincoln City we heard our first tsunami siren. We also passed by some of the sights where the tsunami had shaped the slant of the trees. There were so many places along the way where we could have stopped and just sat and watched the water for hours.
When we drove back to Newport, we stopped at Depoe Bay. Oh my, as we got out of the car and headed toward the water I could see the whales. First one showed his head, then the tail, then both the head and tail were under water and we could see the body. We saw several right in front of us and we met people from Canada and different states. They were laughing as I kept pointing to mom, “there’s one over there,” and “there’s another over there.” Then the spouts kept coming in different areas in front of us. If you’ve ever seen the game whack-a-mole where you try to guess where the mole will come up and hit it, that’s what it felt like. We would see one spout and then another and another. I kept trying to get a picture of the whales, but I wasn’t quick enough to get the picture before it went down again. I finally gave myself permission to enjoy the experience and not worry about a picture. What beautiful creatures.
We made it a point to be back at the hotel in time to see the sun as it set by the end of the day. The sky lit up with pinks and continually changed as the sun went down. The texture of the water, the colors of the sky and the overall picture couldn’t be replicated again.
The next morning, we woke up and headed out to see the Sea Lion Caves around Florence. As we drove, we were greeted by some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever experienced. We stopped and took pictures along the way when it was possible. And just like the previous day, as we watched the sun set from the hotel, we were presented with shades of yellow and gold as the sun went to bed for the night. I was astonished as I was taking pictures. I looked at my camera and the pictures I was capturing on my phone. In the distance, I couldn’t see it at first with the naked eye, but as I looked at the camera I was seeing a cross in the distance. I took the picture about 4 or 5 times to make sure I was seeing what I thought I saw.
The picture of the cross caused my thoughts to go in a different direction and provided me a visual of something that has been so difficult for me to grasp. As I looked at the cross, I began to think about God’s creation. This amazing show of colors and textures slashing across the sky and meeting the horizon of the ocean, fascinated me. It was beautiful, it was majestic, it was reminding me that what I was looking at and what I was surrounded by was God’s creation. But then, something else happened.
God was using the sights and sound of this beautiful ocean to show me the beauty and uniqueness of another of His creations. He was showing me that I am also His, and the same beauty I see when I look at the ocean is the same beauty He sees when He looks at me. I am His creation and in my own way I share the same majesty, beauty, texture, and colors and so do you.
God provided a visual representation of the things I have struggled to understand, and I can’t seem to get away from it. I am His creation, I am loved, I am valued, and I am unique.
The day before we drove home, it stormed on the ocean. The wind was blowing, and it was so strong that it was difficult to walk. The rain blew down, and the water was churning. What I saw was that even when the most difficult circumstances come against us, (the wind and the waves) or when we react badly to the challenges we face, God still loves us. We are still His creation.
When we get down on ourselves and speak with condemnation, we lose sight of the fact that for all we face, God has already prepared a way. He still sees us as His children, even when we make mistakes. The cross I was seeing in these pictures reminds me of the sacrifice Jesus made for us. When we get caught up in the mistakes we have made we need that visual reminder of His love and goodness that anchors us. The picture was my reminder and it still is even after we returned home from the trip.
My prayer is the next time any of us look at God’s creation, whether it is the ocean, the mountains or ourselves, we remember that we are all unique and formed by our Creator.
- In the middle of one of the best experiences, we can still encounter difficulties.
- The difficulties we encounter should never define success or failure of the experience. Our response to the difficulties can color the whole trip. Let it be the color of enjoyment and not magnifying the trials encountered along the way.
- We are God’s creation and are just as beautiful as His other creations.
- Mistakes don’t disqualify us from God’s love and goodness.
- Jesus is the way that was prepared for us.