Life Lessons from the Sea #19 Surviving a Whirlwind

Montego Bay, Jamaica

A few weeks ago, I came home from a refreshing trip to Jamaica expecting a return to normalcy, ready to dive back into life with renewed vigor. Instead, I faced a whirlwind of tragedy and heartache on several different fronts, situations that required me to travel across country four separate times in two and a half weeks.

Right now I’m on a Greyhound, on my way home, although my arrival may be delayed due to weather. This morning on the bus a stranger snapped at me, unaware of the storms brewing behind my calm façade. It was an innocent irritability, nothing important, but tears sprang to my eyes. I dashed them away before she could see, shocked to find my emotions so brittle. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.
Price, UT Fall foliage on Wednesday

I reflect on this as the miles crawl by—we’re in a Wyoming blizzard. My thoughts fly to Jamaica and other places I’ve been near the sea, where I’ve felt such peace and freedom. I just wanna go back. Bring my family and build sand castles. Soak in the sun, swim in the ocean. I wanna catch jellyfish, search for sea stars and sand crabs, watch dolphins soar through the wake of a ship. But as much as I long for solace by the sea, that may not be what’s best for us and certainly isn’t feasible now anyway.


In the ocean, coral reefs survive the pounding surf by sinking their roots deep into the sea floor. They don’t wander around searching for calmer seas. It’s time for me to do the same. Time to sink my roots back home, strengthen my ties to family, deepen my commitment to my goals. I’ll find comfort in returning to routine. Like purple sea fans waving in a current or brain coral coiled between spiny sea urchins, we can flourish amid hardship by holding fast to the things that really matter in life.

Stranded in Laramie, WY Friday

While I’ve been writing, I-80 has closed, stranding me and another fifty or so passengers in Laramie. We’re making the best of things, making friends, sharing rooms with people we don’t really know. At least Greyhound’s covering the hotel bill. And it’s nice to see snow after the past few mild winters in Oklahoma. But I’ll sure be glad when I make it back home.

How have you deepened your ties with family or your commitment to goals? What have you done for your own good, even when you didn’t really want to do it? Where are places you dream of visiting for a refreshing escape?

  • Sorry, Renee, that life has been so turbulent for you lately. Once again, you’ve shared a valuable life lesson from the sea. Thanks for sharing.

  • Anonymous

    So sorry you have had such a rough time. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I have family and friends in Laramie – I’ve heard how bad it is. Be safe and we will see you soon! Stacey B

  • Thanks so much, both of your for your comments and support!