Back in the day, 20+ or so years ago Boston was my home away from home. The place where I grew in my faith, grew in relationship, grew up. It was a place of solitude amongst people. A place where the quiet of the ocean over took the noise of the city.
22 years ago I was a brand new 18 year old, heading to college on the south shore of Boston. A place I already knew I loved, but didn’t know I needed.
Many days and nights I would wander a few blocks from my college dorm to sit on the shores of the ever changing yet predictable Atlantic Ocean. I had been there often as a child, but it was different now. Now I would go there by myself and pray. And dream. And think. And write. And watch. And wonder.
Boston in the Fall is special. The weather begins to change from a warm salty air to a crispness reminiscent of that first bite of a freshly picked apple. What humidity there was in the summer has dissipated and the air reminds you that you’re alive and well and breathing.
I would wrap up in the evenings in a warm jacket and mittens and meander down to the shore after dark. No one but Jesus and me and all of the others doing the same thing I was doing-sitting on the wall and watching the city lights of Boston shimmer across the bay. The stars would shine above us and the waves would make their way back and forth across the sand in front of us. The noise of the street somehow loud but non-existent all at the same time.
The ocean has away of taking over. It gets deep into your soul and points you in the right direction to that thing which can satisfy whatever is in there. It points you to Jesus. It points you to yourself. It soothes the deep places of your thoughts.
I’m far removed from that place now, and have been for a long time, but on nights like this, where the air has a chill in it, the wind blows those loose strands of hair that have fallen from my ponytail across my face, I find myself back on that ocean wall quite quickly. On a few just-so nights during the Fall season, when the conditions are just right and the air is blowing just so, when the leaves are brushing against each other, it’s easy to sit and listen to the earth and watch an ocean that I haven’t seen in years. It’s easy to remember the prayers I prayed and the growth that happened and the starfish that watched the same city lights I did.
The night must have a just-a-bit-too-cold feel to the air. An air that makes you shiver but not remove yourself from it. It’s an air that reminds you you are alive and well and breathing. And despite what might be happening around you God is still God. The ocean tide will continue to breathe in and out. The starfish will continue to be a starfish.
Tonight is a Boston sorta night.