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.
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:
The Playdates button:
Sharing with Laura Barkat today also: