It’s a rare treat for this landlocked, life-locked woman to get away to the ocean. Last weekend, my sister and I travelled down to Savannah, and Tybee Island, together. My sister is more ocean experienced than I, and on the first day of our trip, as we stood at the water’s edge, mesmerized in long silence, she finally made the observation that it’s the same effect as looking into a fire. I could see that.
On the second day, we woke early and headed to the beach for a sunrise show. We were not disappointed. We stayed awhile after the glory, and again we sat mesmerized until my eyes caught sight of an arching fin – the “doggies of the ocean”, as my sister so dubbed them – cutting through the ocean. I yelped like a kid and nearly cried, as I had never seen dolphins in the wild before. My dear sister tolerated my embarrasing behavior.
Later in the day we enjoyed time at the beach and playing in the ocean’s waves. Playing in the ocean’s waves reminds me of being carried by God’s grace.
On the third day, our Airbnb host – not just any host, but a friend of mine from long ago – took us early to the beach, for the sunrise again. I took a moment by myself, with God, at the water’s edge, and again thought of waves and God’s grace. I looked up and down the beach and found a further metaphor. As the waves do not reach everyone at the same time in the same way, so it is with God’s grace. God’s grace is the same for everyone through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit dwelling within. But, it comes, to everyone who will accpet it, in the unique way in which they need to receive it, within their circumstances and culture in life.
When I got home from such a wonderful time in the “Low Country”, I went back to my my friend’s (our Airbnb host) blog and read a couple posts I had not read before (I had not the attention span or interest before). And I was struck with the wonder of the reality that, on that day, when we confess Christ as Lord, we will not all be saying it in the same language.
The below sonnet is inspired by my experiences described above. When you read it, I encourage you, after you’ve read it a couple times, to think about the ocean as a symbol, a metaphor for God.
Waves, like fire, flicker and lap at shore, mesmerize eyes and lull minds with white noise. Feet first, wade with wonder or run with force into deep, vastness, and bodies find poise. Arms below, tread, play with water as toys. Heat of sun on head begs for immersion. Eyes close, plug nose, plunge, jump up and rejoice. Tongue swallows salt and blood fills with ocean. Up and down the beach, each group, each person, claims their space, reaches in, and learns the waves. Water sinks, then swells into a mountain. Emerald wall rises, shoulders bounce up, brave, and surrender life’s weight, carried in grace. Then each tongue confesses the ocean’s ways.
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