Playdates with God: Souvenir

I found it on my last prayer walk by the sea—dipped in a bed of shell fragments, the tide carelessly lapping over. The boys and I had not had too much luck finding treasures from the deep—the surf was too rough and most of the shells were broken into tiny translucent bits of sea glass. But there it was winking in the sunlight at me: the shape of a heart uncovered and laid bare. And I knew this was my gift, for this was how our time by the sea felt to me this year.
So many deep places revealed and washed clean.
I picked that sea-stone up and gently tucked it in the palm of my hand. And when we packed to head back home, I put it in my wallet for safe keeping. All along that long drive back to West Virginia I kept getting it out to feel its rough places—rub the cool dimples.
But when we returned home I forgot about it.
There was unpacking and the restocking and jumping into back-to-school preparations. The heart that had been unearthed by the tilling of the sea was buried once again.
It was in the kitchen when my heart remembered. The kitchen, that place I spend so many moments of my day—hands dipped in soapy water, measuring out sustenance. This time it was tomatoes. We returned to the plants bending heavy with so many of those plump red fruits. There were peppers too, so I decided to make more salsa and I was roasting and chopping and listening to the same music we listened to when we drove toward the shore and my heart jumped in recognition of this feeling.
Freedom.
How could my heart forget its Sabbath lessons so easily? That as soon as I step away from the place of rest I step away from the warm nurture of love and trust and peace and joy? Suddenly I understood the kindness of God in his command to keep Sabbath.
Eugene Peterson says it this way:
…There is a large, leisurely center to existence where God must be deeply pondered, lovingly believed. This demand is not for prayer-on-the-run or for prayer-on-request. It means entering realms of spirit where wonder and adoration have space to develop, where play and delight have time to flourish…(Working the Angles)
I have my regular study time. My regular prayer time. But if I am not setting aside time to regularly wonder…the lessons of the sea will be forgotten—churned under in the tides of the everyday shoreline.
I got out my wallet—unburied the heart-stone once again. I made a place for it on the sink—right beside the dishsoap and the scrubby.
This souvenir does not belong on a shelf. 
How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:

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Sharing with Laura Barkat today also: 

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Comments

  1. says

    “It means entering realms of spirit where wonder and adoration have space to develop”

    I don’t set aside enough time to wonder either. I need it.

    This is beautiful, Laura. I learn from you.

  2. says

    Laura,
    Thank you for wrapping this idea into words. I needed to read it:

    ” That as soon as I step away from the place of rest I step away from the warm nurture of love and trust and peace and joy? Suddenly I understood the kindness of God in his command to keep Sabbath.”

    Sabbath, one of His great gifts to us. Yup.

    Love you, friend.

  3. says

    It’s amazing how a song or a scent can transport our hearts and minds.

    By the sink is a great place for treasures… and a wonderful analogy of washing away the gunk to get to the beauty.

    Blessings.

  4. says

    I just now discovered your site … as a pastoral counselor, avid blogger, and seaglass enthusiast, I feel I might have met a kindred spirit!

    I look forward to getting to know you better!

  5. says

    The simple treasures He leaves for us along the way as signs of His love are the most valuable gifts to me too. I see myself reflected in your writing often. This one was no exception. Love to you Laura.

  6. says

    The longer I walk this walk, the more I believe that it is in these moments of wonder, of stilling, that we truly find Spirit to spirit time. Not in the study time. Not even so much in the prayer time, though it surely happens there, too. But in the serendipitous, sudden, and if we’re wise – the set-apart time for such serendipity, such suddenness – that’s where the lasting, life-changing nourishment comes from. Thanks for this beautiful reminder of that.

  7. says

    So beautiful, Laura! He speaks to us so often if we only hear — through a heart-shaped stone; for me this weekend, through a cloud that morphed as I watched from a dove (Holy Spirit) to a star (the Morning Star). Thanks for the great post & for hosting the linkup & God bless!
    Laurie

  8. says

    “…entering realms of spirit where wonder and adoration have space to develop, where play and delight have time to flourish…”

    I love this quote! What a beautiful description oif Sabbath Rest!

    Thank you, Laura, for sharing both your peaceful moments and your forgetting and remembering.

  9. says

    I once half-jokingly said that I wished several of the local Presbyterian Churches would go together and get a giant bill board by the highway. It would read, “Ever start to wonder, and forget to stop?” This daring to wonder, or even more, this hunger and thirst for wonder, is one of the best things about the journey. Thanks for reminding me!

  10. says

    Never lose your sense of wonder, Laura! I’m so glad you got to go to the beach. And that your family got a good rest. May your little souvenir remind you many times of the rest that is in being united with God.

  11. says

    I love this thought: “But if I am not setting aside time to regularly wonder the ~ lessons of the sea will be forgotten”. Counting 1000 gifts has helped steer my thinking to the wonder of Him, His creation.
    I’m loving The Wellspring space:)) Thank you for providing his link up!

  12. says

    I love beach treasures! I love the one you found that was such a personal gift and such a tangible reminder of the need for Sabbath. The Peterson quote is wonderful, and expresses some of why the city is such a hard place for me. It says exactly why I love mountains, and lakes, and oceans! There is so much room out there for pondering the wonder of Him! Thank you for sharing your treasure!

  13. Alysa says

    Oh Laura! It’s in the kitchen that I remember so much of God’s goodness to me as well. Hands in the dish water. I have a few stones on my kitchen windowsill too. Thanks for sharing your heart here.

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