Mine!

I watched a gull with a large fish in his mouth bent over at the edge of the beach.  He seemed worried that I would steal the fish from him, and so tried to pick it up and fly, but the weight made flight almost impossible.  Again and again, the fish fell from his beak, once almost slipping into the ocean and escaping.  I stopped my walk so the bird could eat the fish in peace, but he was convinced I would grab it, still trying to hurry it to safety.  I felt sorry for the gull; I didn’t want his fish and would have avoided him if I could.  Sadly, I am sometimes like that gull, so worried that others will take from me what is “mine”, that I risk losing it in the very act of protecting it!  In church I sing that all I have is a gift from God, and yet in my daily life I label “Mine!” too often, spending my energies, like the gull, protecting what is in no danger of loss and losing what is most valuable.  Forgive me, Lord, when I worry more about what is mine than about what is yours.  Help me share generously as you have so richly shared with me. Amen.

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Pine PollenPine Pollen

  It’s pine pollen time on the island!  Though I rarely see the yellow particles in the air, I can readily identify their presence on everything left outside—tables, beach shoes, chair, and our car.  All surfaces are coated with a fine yellow film that makes some cough and sneeze.  Once I saw the wind dislodge clouds of pine pollen, setting drifting across the bay though usually it’s invisible.  Despair and depression can be like that.  Individual causes may seem minor, but soon they accumulate and coat everything that should be shiny and bright.  Suddenly the world is dulled in despair and hopelessness.  Please help me, O Lord, to shake myself free of this choking coating so that my enjoyment of the life you’ve given me is not clouded by the accumulation of problems and worries I’ve let pile up.  Help me to breathe in the breath of your life and your love so, like the pine pollen set adrift over the water, I am free to be joyful in your presence. Amen.

Beach FunBeach Fun

  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!

We’re Not an IslandWe’re Not an Island

When I drive over the bridge to the mainland, I am reminded that island life makes it easy to see ourselves as separate, remote from the “mainland of humanity”.  Sometimes it’s tempting to make the bridge an ideological divide and not a way of joining land to land.  Forgive me my arrogance in thinking I can leave the world’s problems behind me, that I can escape to an island.  We are all connected, if not by bridges, then by shared needs and demands.  You have insisted that we love one another, no matter how disconnected we may seem.  Please, Lord, help me stay connected with others so that I am never disconnected from you.  I pray that you direct me not to hide behind bridges, but to maintain and reinforce them with the girders of your love.