The Young Man and the Sea

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tumblr_mb0yhmlvIW1qzx5hdo1_500[1]Last week, my sister-in-law treated the women in our family to the symphony. The music, atmosphere, and company were all delightful, but what I can’t stop thinking about is the composer, Rismsky-Korskov’s story. (Don’t be too impressed, I read it in the program)

As a child living in Russia, Rismsky was enamored with far off places and cultures. He would anxiously await letters from his older brother’s travels with the Navy and the exotic stories they held. In particular, Rismsky fell in love with the sea, even though he had never seen it.

I picture a small boy, dreaming up the sounds and sights of the waves in his bedroom, using only the written word and his imagination to put it together. For years he wished to see, smell, and hear the ocean before ever having the opportunity. At first it seems sad to think of someone loving something for so long and never getting to see it, and it’s easy to wish you could just rush in and take him. But when you listen to his music, you hear a magical and dramatic tone inspired by these years of waiting and daydreaming. His childhood grew in him a mind that could create and compose something beautiful out of nothing. It made me wonder what would’ve become of Rismsky had he gone to the sea right away. Would he still have become the same person?

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Clearly my own childhood love for the sea was never going to produce any sort of brilliance.

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But I do know what it’s like to want to see a new place, live another life, to love sights and sounds I’ve never seen or heard. From middle school all the way to graduation, I couldn’t wait to get out of the small town I grew up in. It’s only recently that I’ve come to appreciate those years, certain they developed many of the best parts of me, including an appetite for the unknown. For good and for bad, my life will always need some measure of adventure;)

Rismsky’s story was a good reminder to keep dreaming bigger dreams, and to view the “not there yet” as the seasons God uses to prepare us for what is next. Typically, we can’t wait to reach the destination, even though the rough and unknown road shapes us into the people He wants us to be. Our natural tendency is to skip to the easy part, never knowing how our spirit was stunted by choosing comfort.

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I came across this quote last year during a small group study.

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

I’d love to hear how this strikes you today. If you are in the middle of a difficult “not yet” season, I hope it encourages you. Perhaps you are “already there” and it’s time to push yourself into the unknown.  You only live once; find the next ocean to dream about and allow God to change you and use you in new ways. Please remind me to keep doing the same.

200480620882748974_PFS6FBpe_c“But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. “—Psalm 52:8

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11 responses to “The Young Man and the Sea”

  1. CR says:

    I agree with your thoughts that had the composer seen everything he had dreamed of right away he would have been a different person. Not necessarily in a bad way but indeed different. I love how you pulled from your own small town experience. Your right that much of that life made you who you are. why we can’t see things like that when we are in the moment is such a bummer but hind sight is 20/20 right? I think right now I am currently in the phase of knowing that God has a plan and is working his magic but I’m also kind of wanting that “Oh I get it moment”. Like the point in your life when you realize what God was teaching/doing. I’ll let you know if I ever have that moment:)

  2. Brandon says:

    Awesome stuff Cindy! Dreaming bigger now!

  3. Heather says:

    Love it Cindy!! Very insightful. I have to agree with you that God’s timing in making us wait for something we long for often allows us to grow in ways we never would have if He had decided to give us the blessing/dream we sought without delay. I am definitely thankful for the truth of that in my life. Often the greatest blessings come from the struggles and trials we endure while pursuing or waiting for something good we desire. It can be tempting to let the disappointment of unfulfilled dreams take root in our hearts and grow into frustration and bitterness, but if we’re able to see the disappointment as an opportunity to cling more dearly to the amazing God who is always with us, how much more ready will we be when the dream comes true? Or when a new or bigger dream begins to take hold of our hearts? I think you’re absolutely right that we all need a dream to pursue – one that challenges us to rely on our God rather than ourselves and one that draws us closer to Him along the journey. Thanks for the encouraging post, Cindy!

  4. Heather says:

    P.S. The other important thing about dreams: They have a way of sprinkling hope into our hearts, and we could all use a little extra hope in today’s world, right? :)

    • Couldn’t have said it better myself! I should’ve just had you write this blog! Thanks for pulling out some deeper lessons and connecting them to all God can do with our hearts and dreams.

  5. Alecia says:

    I’m not by nature a very adventurous person, so sometimes God has to push pretty hard to get me to dream big. I find that whenever I think I’ve “arrived”–when I’m comfortable and disinclined to move anywhere–that’s when God inevitably shows up with some new challenge, tearing down some wall or adding a new wing onto the house. Age and experience have helped me recognize/acknowledge when I’m getting too comfortable, so I can at least get ready for the renovation! Awesome picture of you eating the sand, by the way.

  6. Wow, wow, WOW! Cindy- once again you’ve blown me away. Not only did I laugh out loud TWICE (“Don’t be too impressed, I read it in the program.” & your own childhood experience with the sea!!ha!!), but it really made me think. What if he had seen the sea when he wanted to? I can’t stop thinking about that. Sometimes thinking of something (even if you “Gatsby it” 😉 ) in a very romantic light is just what we need in order to dream and grow. I TRULY believe that dreams should be challenging and scary. That C.S. Lewis quote is right on. Sometimes it’s like… What the HECK are you doing, God? And then boom… he just built us something really cool, like an indoor swimming pool. I think you are doing a great job in dreaming big and making those dreams happen :) you are so great, Cindy!!

    • Aw, thanks, Melinda! Your encouragement and camaraderie in this whole process have kept me going and meant the world. I can’t wait till we make it, but this reminds me that the journey, including the hard parts, are important and help us appreciate it when we arrive. Glad to be on this road with you!

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