Prayers from the Island Jumbled Music

Jumbled Music

Last night the wind blew so hard it battered my bamboo wind chimes, scattering bamboo lengths all over the yard below.  I thought during the night I could hear the jumbled sounds, but blithely rolled over and resumed my sleep.   Now we’ll have to collect, restring and realign the chimes if they’re to make music once again.   Sometimes I think I ignore too much jumbled music; people call me mentioning problems that overwhelm them.  I learn that someone in my neighborhood has fallen and been hurt, I’m told there is an urgent need for volunteers at the local hospital—I hear all of this, but choose instead to roll over and resume my own peaceful sleep, my own peaceful days.  Forgive me, Father, when I ignore the cries of those in need.  With careful attention, we can repair the wind chime, but broken spirits can’t be so easily put right.  Please help me to respond to all the jumbled music so I too can help put things right with your help. Amen.

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Into the DepthsInto the Depths

Last evening a friend showed me an oceanographic chart identifying the water depth far out to sea. It’s difficult for me to imagine how far out the ocean extends—how deep it is. Most of my relationship with the sea takes place ankle or waist deep. When I see these chars and try to comprehend the vastness of the ocean, I’m reminded of the verse from the prophet Micah describing God’s ability to deal with our human nature. “You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” What an incredible promise! The sins that I commit daily despite my good intentions, sins generated by laziness, selfishness, pride, greed, hatred—all of these will be cast from me into the depths, leaving me washed and clean. I have only to accept this grace and make every attempt to live in accord with God’s will, assured of his forgiveness. Father in Heaven, I can no more fathom your power than I can appreciate the vastness of the sea. I thank you for casting my sins from me, granting me your forgiveness and your peace. Amen.

Is That All?Is That All?

I was once with a friend who had never seen the ocean before.  Excited by the prospect of leading her to the beach and sharing the moment of discover with her, I was disheartened to hear her reaction, “Is this all?  I somehow expected it would be bigger!” I felt deflated.  The water extended as far as the eye could see, and yet for this individual, it wasn’t enough.  Am I like that too often?  Do I express my disappointment in God, choosing not to accept and appreciate his boundless love, finding reasons to quibble over small slights I’ve identified?  As far as the eye can see, but not far enough to satisfy me.  Forgive me, Lord, for my ingratitude and help me value the love and the gifts you’ve given me.  May I lovingly extend these gifts to others. Amen.

Home Sweet HomeHome Sweet Home

I’ve been away from the island for a few days, visiting friends and family where I once lived.  Their warm welcome and friendship means so much to me, and yet I sorely missed the island.  I tried to think of precisely what I lacked, but couldn’t identify just one ingredient of the island’s attraction.  When our son was young and we used to camp on an island in the Atlantic, I would return from vacation and feel a sad emptiness with me, as if I’d left behind something valuable and important.  What was it?  Was it the expanse of water and sky, the ever-shifting dunes, the timelessness of the shore, the proximity to nature and God?  Perhaps it is all these things; perhaps it is my heart’s yearning for a simpler life, a life harmonious and peaceful, a life where activities are dictated not by external clocks but by internal rhythms and needs.  I thank you, Lord, that you give us time and places where we can be recreated.  Eden had no clocks, no cell phones, no beepers, no gadgets that locked Adam and Eve into an artificial world.  I thank you for the peace and serenity of this island. Amen.