More from my journal of our week at the ocean...
My boys sleep in this morning but I wander down the beach to where the white cross stands tall. There, a flock has gathered to worship on the shore. It’s a wonder to see: beach chairs and flip-flops, babies and retrievers, the ocean lapping the sand.
The preacher gives some opening words. He tells us that Shallotte Presbyterian Church has been holding these beach services for 45 years. I sigh and we sing our opening hymn: Praise Ye the Lord, the Almighty. It’s one I know, straight from our pews back home but the words have never sounded sweeter—the voices of the saints lifted high on the wind and carried over the sea; the music of the waves the accompaniment.
As the preacher reads the Scripture, ten pelicans—all in a row—drift on the wind above us. I close my eyes. He preaches on Matthew 14:22-32.
…Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear…
When the preacher reads these words, the roar of the waves brings them to life. I gaze out over the ocean and feel the fear of the disciples. The sea is glass this morning and waves ride along it’s pane like living creatures. The sky is cotton candy—its pinks and blues pulled thin, melting into the horizon. How to tame such beauty?
My Lord knew this beauty well.
After the service, people pick up their chairs and walk back down the beach to where they came from. I don’t’ want it to end, so I sit in the sand under that cross and lose myself in the ocean for a time.
I am pulled with the surf, down to the water’s edge. The sand is hard here—pressed firm by the ocean. I find a razor shell and carve prayers into her cool—watch the ocean fold over the names of people I love and carry them out to sea.
When dawn breaks,
the sea glistens—
promise of a
wink in my eye. I
dip below her surface;
watch tiny surf swimmers
furtively dart away and
pull out silver coins,
porous porcelain, pearly
cups long abandoned—
of life once lived in
Linking up with Michelle today:
And Jen and the sisters: