We had driven eight and a half hours — longer if you count how many times I had to stop and use the bathroom. (If you’re wanting to get somewhere quick, I’m not exactly the most ideal person to road trip with.) We drove from Ontario to Massachusetts, right across the state of New York, and the closer we got to the coast, the more I thought I could smell the salt rise from the sea.
The sea does something to me. It opens up a well inside of me — some deep, cavernous place I had forgotten about, and it brings out realizations and understandings that I hadn’t quite grasped before.
Cape Cod is nothing short of stunning. Despite the fact it was freezing, I slipped my toes out from my shoes and felt the sand beneath me as I walked closer toward the ocean. My sister wrapped her arms tighter around her small son, a fuzzy blanket keeping him warm.
We were small, minuscule in fact, in front of that gaping water.
I have felt small before — the good kind and the bad.
I have felt small in the good way: while standing in front of the sea, sitting under the star speckled sky, looking out at the mountains of Rwanda and Peru. And the bad way: feeling unloved and like a desperate disappointment, all the while convincing myself I needed to do something in order to measure up.
I was thinking of these different feelings of smallness, when my sister handed my nephew to me for a few minutes. I held onto him tightly, my body protecting him from the wind. He was sleeping in my arms, and once again I felt my intense and zealous love for him.
I whispered to him, “I love you. And even if you grow up and decide to never love me back, I’ll love you still. Nothing could ever change my love for you.”
The world was wide around me, the sand long and endless, the sea water clapping waves against the shore, and as I looked out at the expanse of beauty, I realized something inside of me had shifted.
All of the love I have for my nephew — it’s the same kind of love Jesus has for me. And yet, like the infinite ocean that stretched before me, His love for me is infinitely more.
I could run from God, choosing not to return His love — but even if I ran, His love for me would never cease. I am small and loved and fragile, and He is mighty and tender and good. He holds me the way I hold my nephew, tight and protected from the wind.
I have believed the lie that I am unlovable for far too long. I have given into the bad kind of small, the disappointing kind.
Jesus has waited patiently, seeing me as I am and loving me all the same.
It took my nephew and the sea to realize this, although I’ve been reaching toward it for awhile. Jesus loves me as I am, in all of my smallness, and that, I think, is the most stunning thing in the world.