Surf Sounds

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  Last night I could hear the surf through my open bedroom window.  All night it crashed against the shore, advancing and receding.  The more quietly I lay, the louder it became, until it seemed to fill the room with its thunder.  How lovely to lie in the darkness and hear the ocean’s voice just outside my window!  I was reminded that even in the darkness your voice can be heard when I lie silent.  I thank you, Lord, for all the forms and shapes Your voice takes, for the laughter of gulls, for the harsh croak of a heron, for the soughing branches of pine trees, for the roar of ocean waves.  May I never grow impatient with these voices or dismiss their message; you created this world and still speak to us through it.  I thank you, God, for your voices that reach out to me—even in the darkness. Amen.

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Sharing the IslandSharing the Island

   I began my walk this morning when a neighbor waved to me.  She is going through a very difficult time; she confessed that her life seems without value and meaning.  As we walked and talked, I could feel her despair and pain.  It would be wonderful to think my words or my company “cured” her, but I know that’s not the case.  The causes of her difficulties, the problems themselves, still exist.  However, I do believe that God can use a simple, random meeting for His good.  What may seem random can be purposeful, intentional in God’s plan.  In an email later that afternoon, my friend talked about our shared time.  She walked on feeling less alone, feeling she had shared pain but experienced a healing, feeling God’s touch upon her, even during a quiet walk.  Each of us is on a walk, O Lord, a walk that sometimes is slowed by pain, by grief, by doubts.  Help us find your chosen companions on these walks, and help us to be just such a companion to others.

Thinking Through TrashThinking Through Trash

This week’s rough wind and waves have torn piles of sea grapes and left them strewn on the shore. I picked my way along their drying heaps thinking of how unattractively they litter the beach. Then I noticed shore birds pecking through the sea grapes, finding bits of food among the tangled leaves and stems. I’m surprised to see so much bounty being discovered, and I’m led to wonder about the litter in my life—what can it be made to yield? Often it has been a crisis that tempered my judgment and brought me closer to God. I spent six months in a body cast, confined to a hospital bed, and learned more from that experience than any university course or self-help book. My father’s early death taught me about faith and forgiveness and the importance of living each moment. Maybe I need to re-examine the detritus of my own life more carefully, identifying the nourishing insights it might produce. Please help me, Father, to see your hand in everything that happens; may I use my life in accordance with your will and in your service. Amen.

Mine!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.