I watch visitors to the island gather shells in plastic bags, celebrating each new discovery, comparing and praising one another’s latest find. The sea bring us so many gifts—delicious foods, refreshing recreating, and certainly shells of great beauty. And yet for me, the greatest gift is simply the presence of the sea, its calm on serene days, its power displayed on stormy days, its scope and depth. I have come to ask for nothing from the sea but its continued existence in my life, just as I am trying to move into a relationship with God where I ask for fewer and fewer material goods and pray instead that my relationship be deepened and strengthened. Dear Lord, I don’t need to find a shell daily in answer to my prayers; help me recognize that my walk with you is the ultimate gift from which I never leave empty-handed. Amen.