John Becker

John Becker

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Dark BeautyDark Beauty

There are some deep, swampy pools on the island, places of dark water and exotic plants, pools where logs lie against the pool’s rim, and the air smells thick and filled with lush growth.  When I approach these pools, I hear things slither and splash in escape.  I know that most people avoid such places, but I have always found them fascinating.  I tread lightly, but appreciate the swamp’s beauty.  Deep shadows move in rhythmic patterns, lovely flowers bloom in brilliant colors against the black water, and life seems rich and luxuriant.  If I’m still, I can watch turtles, frogs, and snakes resume their activities, ignoring my statue-like stance.  I’m not afraid of the swamp, only appreciative of the diversity and abundance of life.  Perhaps this was like Eden, this sense of green growth and damp abundance.  I thank you, Lord, for the secret beauty of swamps and for the intricate beauty of those who inhabit them.  They too are your creations and we, like Adam and Eve, are their caretakers. Amen.

Seeing ClearlySeeing Clearly

Early this morning, the sky was clear and sharp, visibility unrestricted.  I could see small details on the mainland, clearly distinguish a ship on the ocean.  But now the humidity has risen and my vision is impaired.  I have difficulty making out a barge in the bay, and the houses near us are becoming blurred.  My sense of the future sis like that; sometimes I make plans as if the future were mine alone to control, commanding and governing all facets of tomorrow’s arrival.  At other times, I can barely distinguish the next hour, uncertain and fearful.  I think you, Lord, that you have tomorrow in your grasp, that I can close my eyes, place my hand in yours, and walk with confidence.  Thank you for reassuring me that your vision is always for my good—your love for me always clear-eyed. Amen.


Our dock juts out into the bay, and when we pull up a rope that holds a float, I find it covered with barnacles.  I’m always surprised at how quickly they accumulate, these tenacious creatures who cement themselves to a foundation they’ve deemed sturdy.  The rope isn’t sturdy, of course, and so they’re pulled out of the water, left to dry in the sun’s heat.  Other barnacles, those who’ve adhered themselves to the dock supports, have a firmer foundation and will spend their lives in safety.  Like the barnacle who selects a slippery and unsafe home, I am sometimes tempted to fasten my faith to an unsuitable base.  Please Lord help me hold tightly to you, my safe harbor and rock of all ages. Amen.