LENT DAY 31
Selah Director Emeritus, Selah Center
Program Director, Rolling Ridge Retreat Center
North Andover, Massachusetts
We were walking along the nearby beach, companioned by crashing waves and the still-cool breeze, when a bare-foot boy, five, maybe six years old, was right in front of us, dashing across the sand toward the water. Exuberance flowed from his arms, legs, face, and shrieking voice. As he reached the water’s edge, he turned toward his family, trying hard to follow his energy, and, jumping up and down in place, he shouted at the top of his voice, “Get a load of all that water!” This was a living picture of bottled anticipation erupting into pure joy.
I stopped walking momentarily, savoring the picture: one so young, undoubtedly visiting the ocean for the first time, entirely captivated and overjoyed by the vast and dynamic Atlantic lapping at his feet. Hmmm…what a scene to ponder.
In this season of Lent, this young lad causes me to pause, drawing my attention to a fresh way of calling for a living encounter with something or someone beyond me that is so vast, dynamic, and vibrant. He challenges me to open my eyes wider and see beyond the more familiar rhythms of restriction, removal, regret, or remorse to something else…something along the lines of relinquishing, reflecting, and realigning…something preparatory for abundance and fullness of life…something sustainable born of anticipation…something re-awakening me to First Love.
What about cultivating openness or awakening my heart again to feel wonder-filled Love constantly lapping at my feet? What about widening my eyes and arms to receive anew the vast, unpredictable, essential, untamable, transforming, ubiquitous Divine Love? Ocean-like Divine Love is teeming with life in every moment and every movement, and simply returns again and again and again wondering if I might pause and notice and maybe jump in. Divine Love constantly invites me forward with longing for connection and the hope-filled promise of life. “Get a load of all that water” indeed!
And then I wonder about after Lent…how does alertness to the dynamic of Divine Love continue in the ordinary rhythms and places of my life?
How do I remain awake and open to God’s regular invitations toward fullness of life and transformation?
How does my heart remain awake and engaged, energizing my arms, legs, voice and imagination?
Hmmm…perhaps I revisit the beach.
Perhaps I reconstruct this scene of childlike anticipation rushing toward ocean waves.
Perhaps I re-check my willingness to pause often, listen keenly, and live responsively.
Perhaps I practice keeping my heart soft and porous.
Perhaps I merge my path with other kindred hearts and continue walking gently and resolutely alongside the crashing waves of Love.
Perhaps it’s being willing to get wet…there is a load of water to be had after all.
So be it.
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