Further Along My Passage

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“…The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient.  To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith.  Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches.  Patience and faith.  One should be empty, open, choiceless as a  beach—waiting for a gift from the sea.”   Ann Morrow Lindbergh in her book Gift From The Sea.

Often when I have retreated to the seashore for a couple of days of beachcombing, I have brought Lindbergh’s classic book with me.  I do so because of its’ clarifying wisdom and guide to relaxation, insight, and faith.  Near the beginning of this book I am compelled to pause reading with this phrase:  “We are all, in the last analysis, alone. And this basic state of solitude is not something we have any choice about…We are solitary.”  Since my last visit to the beach (at Duck on the Outer Banks of Hatteras Island), five longtime friends who were regular recipients of my journal pages have now been deleted by their passing.  Though separated from them physically over the years, their coming and going in my life were a part of who I became as a person with our shared encounters, adventures, tasks, letters, talks and Christian faith.  Knowing there will be only fond memories of them until some delayed rendezvous in heaven affects me now profoundly.  All these thoughts give me shared empathy with others who are left for whatever the reason as singles in the world.


Lindbergh continues her musings on being alone at the beach.  “And it seemed to me, separated from my own species, that I was nearer to others;  the shy willet, nesting in the ragged tide-wash  behind me; the sandpiper, running in little unfrightened steps down the shining beach rim ahead of me; the slow flapping pelicans over my head, coasting downwind; the old gull, hunched up, grouchy, surveying the horizon.  I felt a kind of impersonal kinship with them and a joy in that kinship.  Beauty of earth and sea and air meant more to me.  I was in harmony with it, melted into the universe, lost in it, as one is lost in a canticle of praise, swelling from an unknown crowd in a cathedral.  ‘Praise ye the Lord, all ye fishes of the sea –all ye birds of the air –all ye children of men –Praise ye the Lord!’.  Reading that I recalled other seashores around the world as memories flooded:  Wakkanai, Japan where we rode our bikes along the seashore collecting glass balls lost from the fishing boats, driftwood, and  wild lilies; Sondrestromfjord, Greenland where almost nightly for more than a year, I watched the Aurora Borealis drape the heavens in rainbows of color; seagulls following our ferry from the Costa del Sol past Gibraltar to Tangier, Morocco;  from aboard the freighter Cho Yang Atlas  seeing an albatross lone wandering in the South China Sea.  There, too, for the first time, I had watched schools of fish emerge from the water and fly - confirming mariners’ tales of fish leaping into their vessels.


Geese in Flight

“This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and cast him out of the vineyard.  And they took him and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.   What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do?” Mark 12:6-9.

James S. Stewart in a sermon he titled “Love’s Last Appeal” shows us how that Jesus tells a story just three days before His death, a parable about the owner of a vineyard,  which is purely autobiographical.  This chapter of Scripture captures the history of the Old Testament and the gospel in miniature. After the vineyard owner repeatedly sends collectors whom the husbandmen reject, he finally sends his only beloved son.  It is the Father’s own life story while the owner’s Son is none other than Jesus Himself sent by the Father showing us the long history of His patience, longsuffering, and forgiving love for His chosen people.  God never lets go.  Robert Seymour Bridges captured this tenacious love of God in perceptive verse with his own response.

I will not let thee go.
The stars that crowd the summer skies
Have watched us so below
With all their million eyes,
I dare not let thee go.


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