Beach Fun

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  What a beautiful day!  A cool wind blowing in from the north flattened the waves and made their meeting with the shore a subdued union.  Despite the cool breeze (I in my jacket, naturally), I watched people in shorts and bathing suits enjoying the sun and the sand, throwing Frisbees, jumping in the wet sand, and fishing at the ocean’s edge.  I love to watch families or individuals at play it lets me witness something simultaneously private and public.  Surely our laughter is part of the godliness that resides in us, a gift Adam and Eve took with them even as they left the Garden. I believe we share God’s delight in His world when we laugh with one another over something as wholesome as the water and the shore.  I can’t help but smile just watching His children celebrating.  I think you, Dear Father, for reminding me that sun, wind, sand and ocean are reason enough to laugh, even when small ills trouble me.  Thank you for the wonderful gift of laughter to celebrate!

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Holding FastHolding Fast

A limb has nearly broken off the pine tree near the front of our house.

Last year woodpeckers tapped it until there was a large hole, then the wind loosened the remaining branch, and now what is left hangs by a narrow strip of wood.  Fat doves sit on it, apparently enjoying the bouncing landing they generate.  I wonder how long the branch can survive, so I run to check after each windstorm.  Still there—still holding fast.  Still refusing to let go.  Perhaps God is like that branch, holding onto me, refusing to let me go, keeping me beside Him no matter how I may strain or push away.  I am part of Him and He loves me; I can’t fall.  Thank you, Lord, for holding me to your side even when I fight to have my own way.  Hold me fast, I pray. Amen.

Leap Into FaithLeap Into Faith

Yesterday in church I had problems on my mind, thoughts that displaced praise and worship, thoughts that held me fast to the things of this world. During my beach walk, I watched a sea tern prepare to fly. He jumped slightly into the wind, and then raised his feet back flat, severing all ties with the earth. Suddenly I realized that is exactly what I must do when I approach God; I must greet him with a leap of faith and with my thoughts of this world left behind. Of course I will pray for counsel and guidance, for help and strength, but I must, like that bird, allow my spirit to reach out for God’s presence, not tying myself to the snares and traps of this world. I can’t solve my problems myself because they enmesh me in their own complexity. Like that bird, I have to jump as an act of faith into God’s presence, concentrating on him and his will for my life. Forgive me, Father, when I approach you with a mind already filled with my own thoughts. Help me empty myself of all but praise and gratitude, coming before you in trust and faith. Amen.

An Empty IslandAn Empty Island

The weather is turning cooler now, as autumn has muted the island colors. What was once bright green is now gold, caught in the moment between 14-karat luster and nondescript tan. While holly and pine needles retain their jade color, sand and leaves blend and merge into a pattern of late fall. How empty the island seems during the period after Labor Day and before Thanksgiving! When we walk on the beach now, we see no one else. The roads are empty of leisure vehicles—rental bikes, mopeds, scooters, and golf carts. Ghost crabs have found dens below the sand’s surface, prepared to remain hidden during the coldest time of the year. At night rental houses are empty; only neighbors’ lights shine in the darkness, mirroring the stars above. It’s a time of year both serene and sad, as if summer dreams dissolved in the warm ocean water, leaving only disappearing sea foam. Both the year and I have aged, days passing in glorious beauty, but moving into a slower, more contemplative mode. Perhaps I too need to become more silent, turning for conversation to God, listening less to the summer noises that still echo. Please, lord, help me find joy in all seasons of the year. May your presence beside me provide reason to celebrate with quiet joy and peaceful harmony. Amen.