EMPOWERED Mission Trip Devotional Journal available now! GET IT HERE!

Today I Heard the Ocean

Today I heard the ocean.

It was a windy day and I could hear the ocean waves crash on the sand while I sat on my couch. 

The walls to my home aren’t that thin, but I could still hear the wind and the waves! In fact, I hear them often. They are kind of always in the background. I suppose it would be more accurate to say that I noticed the sound of the ocean today. 

I wouldn’t have noticed it today if it wasn’t for three things that happened in my life recently: 

  1. A trip to the country of North Carolina
  2. The use of Google home technology
  3. Silence

I wouldn’t have noticed the sound of the ocean today if it hadn’t been for the past week I spent in a country neighborhood in North Carolina. While there I heard birds chirping, horses neighing, and even an owl I think! There was still wind, but the rustling of tree leaves wasn’t nearly as loud as the ocean waves. 

I wouldn’t have noticed the sound of the ocean today if it wasn’t for the Google home listening device that played ocean sounds through the speakers while I slept. Each night when we climbed into bed, my husband said “Hey Google, play ocean sounds.” And the Alexa or Siri or whatever Google’s voice is called began to play the sound of the waves through its speakers. Listening to the technology version of what I hear everyday in real life is kind of like hearing a recording of your own voice. It’s you, and you know it’s you, but it just doesn’t sound the same. Nevertheless, the soothing artificial noise lulled us to sleep the same way the Atlantic does. 

I wouldn’t have noticed the sound of the ocean today if it wasn’t for silence. I was sitting home after this trip, no music or shows playing around me, no people talking, when I heard the familiar crashing of the waves. They were loud enough that I called to my husband in the other room, “Are you playing ocean sounds again?” He wasn’t. It was the real ocean this time. From the outside, not from a speaker. 

The same sounds I listened to everyday, but this time I heard the waves. I noticed them in a way that I hadn’t before. Since the noise is always in the background, I had begun to ignore it! Just like the weird noises the refrigerator makes, or the air kicking on, each house has a noisy background that begins to fade the longer we live there. The noises don’t go away, but they blend in and become unnoticeable. That is, until someone comes over and asks, “What’s that noise?” and the creaking of the house is brought back into your awareness. It was always there, whether you thought about it or not. 

I wonder what else is there? What else is happening around me all the time that I no longer think about? 

I invite you to explore this question with me. Sit for even just 20 seconds of silence to hear what is around you when you really pay attention. Do you hear birds or waves? Maybe you hear cars driving by or neighbor kids playing. What do you feel? What do you smell? Another part of our homes that quickly fade out of our awareness is smell, for better or for worse! What are you becoming aware of that’s been there all along?

Today I heard the ocean. I became aware of the sound I once noticed right away. 

There is beauty and wonder all around us if we are curious enough to pause and notice it. 

Thanks for making this a part of your day!
Feel free to share it with others!

17 Responses

  1. I haven’t taken in a pause in a long time. Yesterday I got to. We’re in the tail end of a three day snow storm and the snow brings with it an extra layer of silence. It makes the wind, the birds, the crunch of the snow under your feet, and so much more stand right out. It was nice just listening for a bit. I’ll definitely pay more attention because of it. I haven’t really shut down in our house. I’ll give it a go.

  2. I love the quiet in the mornings. Thank you for sharing. When my husband was home every day, it was never quiet. He likes to have the tv on all the time. I find that even when the tv is on mute, it disturbs the quiet feel of the house. I notice sounds and things around me so much better in the quiet. I can listen to God so much better then. I’m grateful for times of quiet.

    1. There is something about the TV – even muted – that creates a distraction, isn’t there? Even the lighting from the changing scenes adds a presence. I’m glad you are able to have these quiet mornings and the awareness that comes with them. Amen!

  3. I love to sit outside and listen to the world. To me that’s so calm and peaceful, it clears the stress away and makes things so much nicer. I do this a few times a week.

  4. I love the sound of ocean waves and wind. Being able to pause and notice what’s around you through your five senses is very grounding. And with life’s responsibilities, many distractions, and stresses, it’s easy to overlook the things that are there.

    1. Grounding is such a good word here – it’s amazing the way we are connected to the world through our senses but can overlook or forget to notice the sights, sounds, smells… And even the taste of the salty ocean air!

  5. Today I noticed how the sky was such a gorgeous shade of blue. I usually only notice it in the spring and summer because in the winter I am hunched over trying to stay warm and never seem to see/notice it…lol. I just stood there in a moment of peace and gratitude admiring it.

    1. That’s beautiful, Cindy. When we moved to Florida someone told us that you can tell the changing seasons not by the weather, but the sky. Since then I’ve been more aware of the different shades of blue the sky takes on throughout the year. It’s so interesting how it changes! I’m glad you were able to experience it in the midst of the cold winter.

  6. In this busy busy world, I think many things would get better if we all took time out to stop what we’re doing and just look around us, listen to the sounds, and smell the breeze. It refreshes the soul and heals the mind and body.

  7. I grew up in Long Beach, CA and although I couldn’t hear the ocean from my house (the beachfront property was WAY out of our price range) I’ve always loved the sound of the ocean. I don’t like the beach though. When I go home to visit my family (I live in landlocked CO now and have for most of my adult life) I always take a drive down Ocean Blvd. and get out to soak in the sound and smell of the ocean.

    1. You bring up a good point that the beach is NOT the same experience as the ocean! I will admit I often stand on the boardwalk or even in the parking lot to look and listen to the waves, but I only go into the sand if I’m prepared for a different sensory experience. Ha!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *