Rather than being sucked of its fizzy and sweet peach contents only to be recycled, the below NEHI bottle has had quite a different destiny. I decided that it would be the messenger of my words with the sea. At last, I have a message in a bottle.
Dear whomever this Peach NEHI bottle finds,
I do hope you find these words dry, legible, and honest. I leave them here on this coast where I first learned to write, in a bottle from the mountains I’ve grown to climb. I’ve always had the desire in my heart to leave a message in a bottle. Between my love for writing letters and my need to reach my 21-year-old arms out to the world, it was inevitable that this bottle would bypass the recycling bin for a Sea Voyage on the S.S. NEHI. Ever since grade school, I have found that my most meaningful actions have been those that REACH OUT to others: writing a thankful letter to a teacher, playing a piece as a gift to my audience, or turning down impending deadlines to spend time with those whom I love. Beyond all accomplishments, hobbies, and hard work it has been acts like these that fill my heart.
You see, I am currently in quite the transitory place in my life (but aren’t we all?) I have known what I wanted to do with my life for years and I have stuck with it. Yet, I am constantly bombarded with a purpose-check and a reminder of my many competing interests. I go between trusting that I am where I am, doing what I’m doing when I should in God’s perfect plan and completely pulling away from this in stubborn defiance. I kick and struggle to seek my own perfectly engineered role in this world. I have always been so sure that there was something “remarkable” that awaited me in my future—again, don’t we all? Then there is what I truly know: that I belong to God, His will is perfect, He knows where He wants me, and I have to stop seeking my purpose on my own. In fact, I already have one in God, alone. It is so easy to forget what lies beyond, “eternal perspective,” as my close friend calls it. It is in the simple lives, quiet and humble that God speaks the loudest…and it is on the darkest nights that the stars shine the brightest. I suppose I am currently in my own “dark night,” in which God becomes the realist thing that I can see. I don’t know if you even believe in God, but He certainly believes in us. Beyond all hurting, worldly desire, confusion, frustration, doubt, and fear is a constant murmur of promise that says, “Be still and know that I am God.” I feel Him in waters like these, I see Him in the staring eyes of a deer, I see him in a mountain sunset, I hear him in the winds that blow, and I feel him in my soul with every move I make…and I know that He. Is.
I must also mention that I write to teach and advise myself about life. Of course sometimes it doesn’t seem to be me talking at all, but God. That’s why prayer is so incredible. Yea, God’s will is going to happen (I could pray that this bottle floats to Africa, but instead, God would rather read and keep it Himself in sunken ruins), even when we pray, but he truly speaks and teaches through those times.
I don’t know if you’re male, female, young, old, a 43-year-old housewife, or a chimpanzee, but whoever you are, I am reaching out to you, for me, for God, and for the world. There are too many good intentions and dreams dropped from hands that now hold wine bottles, remote controls, guns, crumpled tissues, and a bunch of regrets. I don’t think many things are here on this earth with any purpose other than to Teach Us. We have different races to learn acceptance, we feel grief to know that God is the one thing left, we find love in another to see a mere reflection of that which is God’s –if that love fails, there is God saying His is the only love that is perfect. There is this girl sending a letter in a bottle to the ocean to do…what? She certainly doesn’t know, but of course now, she doesn’t care. She has found herself once again in His guiding confidence. It doesn’t even matter how big her earthly failures become. In fact, she could lose every job, relationship, and home she ever owns and she would know that her destination remains the key. Ironically, it is when she realizes this, seizes this promise, and uses it in her RIGHT NOW present life that God fills her with all that she needs and more to be just fine. I pray for you every day—I reach out to you now. So does God. God doesn’t need a silly bottle though. I’m sure He wishes we’d make it all easier on ourselves…but that wouldn’t be life, would it?
A girl finding her way, bumpily, but surely
ps. If this is found by someone who also enjoys writing letters, please write back. I’d love to hear/read from you.