The Relentless Call of the Sea

I found a sea lion today. Cleaning in my studio, I got carried away decluttering and dared to tackle the closet in that room. How wonderful it feels to me, to clear space and bask in the lightness that accompanies the increased flow of energy. As I emptied a drawer in the closet, I made a delightful discovery. Years ago my daughter Elissa created a watercolor of a sea lion, perched upon a rock, in the desert. Her work of art was inspired by a beautiful story.

In recent years it has been my joy to haul treasures out of storage and use them or hang them or set them where I can see them and appreciate them. Studying the watercolor, remembering the sea lion’s story and Elissa’s journey and mine, I knew that work of art would not go back into the closet.

The Relentless Call of the Sea

The Lost Sea Lion

The story of the sea lion comes from the book, Journey of Desire, by John Eldredge. It is woven throughout the book, an integral part of the narrative.

I’ve summarized the story below.


There once was a sea lion who had lost the sea. He lived in the barren lands, far from the coast, on a dry and dusty plateau. He couldn’t remember how he came to live there, but he had been there so long that he thought of it as home.

The sea lion asked every traveler who passed by if they could help him find his way back to the sea. But no one knew the way. Finally the sea lion took refuge beneath a solitary tree beside a small muddy water hole. He settled down there and learned to survive.

In the evenings the sea lion would sit upon his favorite rock. On the best nights a faint smell of salt air would come to him on the breeze. Closing his eyes, he would imagine himself once more in the sea. And sleeping he dreamed of a vast, deep ocean. The sea called to him.

Loss of Desire

Night after night he dreamed of the sea. Eventually it became too much. He only visited his rock occasionally. Waking so far from home was a disappointment. The day came when the sea lion quit visiting his rock and no longer lifted his nose to catch the sea breezes.

His friend the tortoise, who was really a sea turtle who had left the ocean many years ago, told the sea lion, “You must learn to be happy here.” With his words he convinced the sea lion that the sea had forgotten him and that in time he would forget all about diving deeply beneath the cool water. The tortoise told stories about his adventures, and eventually the memory of the sea faded. Between the solitary tree and the muddy water hole the sea lion lived his life. The sea no longer filled his dreams.

One day the fierce desert winds began to blow and for many days they did not cease. When the wind storm was over the sea lion looked around in disbelief. The tree was stripped of its leaves and the water hole dried up. Three weeks later, the sea lion dreamed again of the sea. The water was clear and deep and in this dream, he was surrounded by other sea lions. They played in the water around him.

Journey of Desire

Tears streamed from his eyes as he awoke from the wonderful dream. He did not even pause to wipe them away. The sea lion set his face toward the east and began to walk. “Where are you going?” asked the tortoise.

“I am going to find the sea.”

The Relentless Call of the Sea Artwork by Elissa Moore

A Relentless Call

Re-reading the sea lion’s story moved me deeply. How easy it is to not only lose our way, but to lose the desire to find our way to that which calls to us and haunts our dreams.

It is not a mistake that I found Elissa’s beautiful portrayal of the sea lion, longing for the sea. During this part of my own journey, as I long for that which calls to me, the painting and the story remind me not to settle, not to give up. I am created for more. My dreams call to me because they are what I am created for.

I am a sea lion surviving in the desert…a queen sea lion…dreaming of the sea.

Awake, I have remembered who I am and what I am made for. The watercolor and the story are wonderful reminders to keep walking toward the object of my desire…toward the life I know I was born to live.

I framed Elissa’s artwork and hung it in my bedroom, next to my bed, where I will see it morning and night. Beneath it on the bedside table rests the picture I drew, of the pawn seeing the reflection of the queen in the mirror.

They are all marvelously connected, these magical, enchanting, Divinely inspired “dots”. As they coalesce, a bigger picture is forming. I am breathless with anticipation, to see what appears.

The Relentless Call of the Sea

Order Journey of Desire by John Eldredge below.

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