We are standing on the balcony, stars twinkling overhead. Our faces turned as so many before, as so many after will be…gazing at the rushing waters, allowing the same wind that gave Wilbur and Orville their first flight to caress our skin. The tide pulls at our bodies, beckoning them into the rhythm of the earth and moon around the sun. The air around us moist—tastes of salt, smell of sunscreen lingers.
Moonlight shimmers. Water winks–bright and sparkly one minute, dark and sleepy the next.
I study his profile in the gleam of the moon’s eye. Say nothing.
“It looks like a giant lake.”
The cover of night hides her restlessness, but iridescent foam on the shore belies her masquerade.
“It’s the only place in this world you can feel the heartbeat of the earth.”
At his words, I hear it; this steady thrumming heart. Mine falters briefly…begins to beat in rhythm.
I think of the deep, all the mysteries hidden there. Things we will never know or understand. I think of the beauty, the power to stir…the power to destroy. The countless organisms this body gives life to…the eroding waters that mold and shape.
I wrap my arms around him. Press lips to cold skin on the nape of neck. He is mine to touch, but I hesitate to speak, starting slow, and finishing with a rush of breath—afraid, perhaps of sounding silly, cliche.
“I think it is an amazing metaphor for God—the beauty…the power. So much we cannot touch or know…”
He is quiet.
I go on.
“The way I feel when I look at the ocean…awed, afraid…I wonder if it feels the same to stand before the Grand Canyon, or look out over a glacier?”
“It is amazing. But it’s…different.”
He, of course, has stood at the edge.
He stirs. There is an edge to his voice.
“This is all I need. I don’t need to swim in the waves, or lie in the sun. I don’t need to rub shoulders with hundreds of tourists or gorge myself on an overpriced dinner. Just this. This is all I care about.”
I know he speaks of more than the ocean. I hear it in his tone.
This life we live sometimes bleeds us dry. And lately it has been our church that makes the deepest cuts.
He is already anticipating the end of holiday. He is already dreading re-entry into our everyday life.
I whisper a silent prayer.
This emptiness, this dissatisfaction…only You can fill this, Lord. You: the Deep, the Mystery. The One we may never understand. The One of great beauty, and power—power to stir… power to destroy. The countless organisms You give life to… molding and shaping us according to Your purpose.
I close my eyes and feel this heartbeat. It is greater than anything on earth. I want my heart to beat in time to Your heart, Father.
Help us to hear its rhythm. No matter where we are.