“All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea — whether it is to sail or to watch it … we are going back from whence we came.”
—John F. Kennedy
I’ve always been drawn to the sea. In fact, in many ways I feel my body came equipped with a little internal homing device that guides me to the ocean—much like a bird flying south for the winter.
Those who have known me for some time and even those who may have stumbled upon this blog have most likely gleaned that my fascination with the ocean is in many ways, tied to the intimate relationship we share with it. An earlier post even revealed my love for sea glass, describing how though I find each piece remarkable in beauty, what really intrigues me most is the story behind each gem—the intimacy attached to the moment it started its journey in the sea.
Going through my emails, texts and letters this week, I started thinking a lot about messages. It seems, the best messages received in our lives come from passion . . . deliberate passion.
Although no one knows for sure when the first message in a bottle was released, the earliest records show that Theophrastus, an ancient Greek philosopher was the first known person to release such a message in a bottle in an effort to prove that the Mediterranean Sea was formed from the inflowing Atlantic Ocean. History also reveals many shipwrecked people who resorted to sending messages in bottles. Often these messages weren’t discovered for 100 years or more. Unfortunately, their cries for help were futile—most certainly dying long before the message in the bottle was ever found.
To even contemplate the feeling I’d have finding a message in a bottle makes my heart skip a beat. The romantic in me would love to think all messages tucked away in a bottle would be those of a great love story. That thought alone got my mind thinking. What would my message be, were I to send a bottle adrift at sea? Would it be that of a passionate cry for help, or instead a message filled with a rich love story, a Hope that can weather any storm.
Thursday started my new cycle of chemo—A/C. Though I anticipated feeling very invigorated Friday with all the steroids onboard, instead by mid-afternoon, I felt rather ill. I started the Neulasta injection that night, taken to help boost my immune system. Though I was initially nervous giving myself a “shot,” it was really quite easy and painless. Yesterday proved to be a different animal altogether. I just didn’t feel like me in the least. My movement was only to use the bathroom. I just felt like junk. There’s nothing more daunting than feeling helpless. Helplessness carries with it a true sense of defeat. Had my bottle been thrown out at sea yesterday, the message filled with earnest passion in the face of defeat would have certainly been written as an S.O.S. — an urgent appeal for help.
Glass bottles, though fragile do very well at sea . . . seemingly bobbing endlessly through the sea with no damage. I’ve read stories of sunken ship wreckage with bottles discovered in perfect condition well after 250 years under water. It’s no wonder that bottles were often the chosen vessel during a crisis, as a means of reaching someone—their very durability having the potential to last forever.
Our messages in life need to be deliberate, and safely delivered with passion. In our weakest moments—unable to fathom anything other than shuffling one foot in front of the other, it’s imperative to reach for victory. Though difficult to look up when you feel helpless, it is at times like these, that God’s word reverberates in my soul: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” ~Ephesians 2:8
Through faith, God has thrown the life vest. Not of our own strength, but instead His gift of salvation, the lasting message of Hope.
You never know where a message in a bottle will end up or even how long it will take to get there. What we do know is that the messages we send forth in life through the shipwrecks or heartaches we face can have a lasting impact. As I just begin this voyage on a rough sea, I know that there will be many times when I will feel weary and lost and in desperate need to send out a cry for help in my message in a bottle.
My hope is that my message will always be that of the ultimate love story—a message of victory, not defeat.