Faded Colors

I collected a beautiful shell last week, varying shades of peach and lilac, set off with gleaming white. It was a watercolor miniature of an ocean sunset made permanent—or so I thought. This week I re-examined the shell and found faded colors. What were once subtle gradations of color were now merely dun-shaded smears. What had produced this sad transformation? I held the shell under tap water and magically its colors returned, though a bit faded for having dried out. The shell came from the sea and required seawater to preserve its beauty. Away for its natural element it became flat and unremarkable. What is my natural element? When I am too long without contact with God through prayer and reflection, through exposure to his word and worship with fellow Christians, do I lose my Christian colors that make my life beautiful? Can I fade and let the spirit of Christ living within me vanish? Forgive me, Father, when I allow my contact with you to dry up; please help me make time and place for you in my life so your presence reflect in all I think, say, do, and feel. May my colors brightly reflect your love. Amen.

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Something MissingSomething Missing

 I love to carry my camera with me as I walk, taking pictures of things that catch my attention .  I look through the lens and feel the photo will be perfect, capturing the entire range of what lies before me.  A heron strutting for a fisherman’s attention, a gull soaring in blue sky, shadows against the beach crossover–each picture seems capable of full reproduction.  But when I examine the developed pictures, I’m often disappointed.  So much has been lost, so much of what I valued in the scene can’t be captured on film.  I sadly file away the photos, knowing they represent only part of what I felt and saw.  I think of my church experiences.  I have worshiped on my own, without being in the presence of my fellow believers, but the experience is somehow lacking, never providing for me all that being in church gives me.  It’s always less than what I experience.  I thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to worship with other Christians, and for the enrichment their faith brings to my faith. Amen.

Appearances are DeceivingAppearances are Deceiving

I walked today on the beach with a friend who wears shoes because of foot problems. When a cliff began to line the water’s edge and the tide was rising, she tried to climb the sand to stay dry. The sand collapsed and she fell forward. While she wasn’t hurt, my friend was shocked. “ I thought the sand would hold me!” she said in surprise as she dusted the sand from herself. “ It looked so solid!” I thought to myself of all the worldly foundations that look solid, foundations which appear to offer security and safety. Possessions, money, social standing, professional skills, intelligence—all these appear to be strong and sturdy. We rely on them so quickly and easily, until we find ourselves, like my friend, flat on the ground. I thank you, Lord, for the security and safety of your love, your promises, and your continued presence in my life. Please help me place my trust in your shore foundation. Amen.

LitterLitter

  Frequently on my walk I take a plastic bag to collect the refuse left behind on the beach.  Empty beer and soda cans, plastic cartons that once held bait, plastic plates and broken foam coolers, bags with scraps of fast food take-out.  I gather these broken pieces and wonder about those whose carelessness is made so visible.  What they leave behind affects all who follow them, soiling the beach and requiring clean-up efforts of others.  Then I wonder what I leave behind in my carelessness—do I scatter the refuse of broken promises, painful retorts, hurt feelings?  Must others come in my wake and try to heal the scars I’ve caused?  Forgive me, Father, for the detritus in my life, and please help me leave nothing behind that will destroy or litter your world or leave others in pain. Amen.