Prayers from the Island A Sand Canvas

A Sand Canvas

The sand is an ideal canvas for designs. It reacts to wind and rain, to the sweep of sea oats and the smudge of wildflower pollen, to the imprint of animals and humans. This morning’s heavy, driving rain from the west made horizontal tunnels in the sand, like small borer holes. Draped over the beach or pulled so taut it ripples, the sand reveals all that has touched its surface. I can place my foot beside the footprint of a great blue heron and note the similarity in size or trace the path of a sea turtle laying eggs. Perhaps each person is like a sand canvas; we too reveal all that has touched us in our lives. Some may learn to camouflage their feelings, but usually we can read the designs etched in others, in their faces, their behavior, their speech. I need to be more careful of what I write in my life, what I say and do. Too often I’m careless and lash out unreasonably at others, when it is my impatience that speaks crossly. Please help me, Father, write beautiful designs in my life. Help me seek not only your forgiveness, but also that of those whom I have wronged. May the canvas of my life be a lovely testament to you. Amen.

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Too Far!Too Far!

 When my husband and I walk, we aim for specific spot, easily identified on the beach.  Sometimes we try to go past that spot, adding each day to the length of our walk.  Of course the problem, with adding a bit daily is that eventually the distance becomes a hindrance rather than an encouragement; the walk seems too long to begin and so it is easily postponed.  For us the trick is to be realistic, setting a goal we can hope to maintain without excuse and without being certain of failure.  Prayer life is sometimes like that walk.  I want to increase the depth and intensity of my prayers, but know that if I overestimate my concentration, I’ll begin to skip my time with God.  Forgive me, God, for my failure to meet your goals, for my impatience, for my lack of attention.  Have mercy on me and grant me renewed dedication to you and your word. Amen.

Crab WalkingCrab Walking

I love to watch ghost crabs run, their bodies moving sideways with great speed. Unlike most creatures whose movements are either directly ahead or back, crabs sidle, going off in unexpected angles and tangents. At times they’ve scurried over my feet, shocking us both, their direction unpredictable. Perhaps I’m more crablike than I want to admit. My walk of faith should proceed forward, as God intends, but too often I move in different directions, unwilling to take the steps ahead that I know I should choose. There are good reasons, I tell myself, why it’s impossible to help with this event, to call someone who’s lonely, to visit a sick acquaintance. I’m too busy to be expected to volunteer, to serve on a committee, to extend my Bible study time. Good, good reasons. And so I sidle away from what I know is right, running at top speed side-wise, trying to maintain my relationship with God but unwilling to make the necessary commitments. Forgive me, please Father, my repeated refusals to accompany you. Help me place my hand in yours and walk straight ahead as you guide, and excuse my tugs to the side. Amen.

Planting PansiesPlanting Pansies

 I planted a flat of pansies today, eager for spring’s splash of color in my heard.  The island consists entirely of sand and oyster shells, so maintaining soil is difficult.  I try to add topsoil, but it filters through the sand and vanishes.  I must work at growing flowers on the island, digging, replenishing, fertilizing and watering.

My religious life is like that too.  I can’t take for granted that an occasional watering or spading or fertilizing will suffice; I need to work at my faith, keeping it weeded and tended.  Too often I assume the seeds of faith planted as a child should be enough to last me all my life, but that’s not good enough.  Please forgive me, Father, when I neglect my garden of faith; help me to be a more faithful, diligent, and joyful gardener.