Friday, 13 May 2011

Music in the waves

I love the sea. Here we are at the seaside in Suffolk for Mum's 80th birthday weekend and I can see the sea from the hotel window. We've walked along the beach, had fish and chips on the seafront and it's just lovely.  There can be nothing finer in this life, I think, than sitting on a bench at the seaside with your family in the sun eating fish and chips with one of those pointless little wooden forks and throwing bits to the seagulls who can catch a chip in mid air!  How clever is that.

It's been a beautiful day. The roads have been pretty clear, we stopped somewhere lovely for lunch, the children have been patient and good natured in the car (mostly) and the rooms are amazing. You've looked after us today. Thankyou. 

Charles Spurgeon said:

'The old saying is, 'Go from nature up to Nature's God'; but it is hard working up hill.  The best thing is to go from nature's God down to nature; and if you once get to nature's God, and believe Him, and love Him, it is surprising how easy it is to hear music in the waves, and songs in the wild whisperings of the winds; to see God everywhere, in the stones, in the rocks, in the rippling brooks, and hear him everywere in the lowing of cattle, in the rolling of thunder and the fury of tempests.' 

I love the sea, and as I stood there looking at it earlier today I thought of this passage. I always look at the sea and see you, Lord. Maybe it's the vastness, the majesty, the breadth of it; or maybe the depth, the power and the beauty of it.  The way it's ever changing, never the same. Nothing can contain it. It has always been since the day you brought it about, and always will be. It cannot be destroyed, cannot be controlled. It nurtures and it destroys.  It is frightening and beautiful, stirring and soothing. The way it reflects the sunset is a symphony of nature that shows us here on earth a tiny hint of the awe-inspiring wonder of you. Another glimpse.

I love the clearness of the air by the sea, the sound of the waves and the smell of it all.  I love the sea birds and sand and pebbles. I love the way the breakwaters recede into the sea and the beautiful silver texture of the weathered wood. I love the shelving of the sand to the water's edge and I love rockpools full of treasure.  I love sandcastles and buckets and spades and those tiny little flags that you stick in the top. I love the joy on my girls' faces as they find a 'special' pebble or a shell or some small wary creature.

There you are in the stones and rocks on the beach, in the music and rhythm of the waves, in the calling of the birds. It is easy to see you indeed. I love it by the sea. It wakes up a part of me that is sleepy most of the time - the bit of me that fills my lungs with you, breathing in your spirit in long breaths.  The part of me that feasts my senses on you, that can't find words so just smiles and gazes and inhales and listens intently.

This is just what I need. You knew that. I was wondering if I could possibly put aside the rubbish of the last few days and enjoy this weekend at all but I feel blessed to be here, and so grateful that you gave us all these things to enjoy. I'm seeing them all again. It's a breath of fresh air indeed.  You know everything that I have on my plate, Father, because I've laid it all in front of you; I can't process it or analyse it or make any sense of it. So I've just dumped it with you - Katy's lump and hospital appointments and mine as well. You hold all things in your hand. You know me inside and out and have done since before I came to be. You know every word on my tongue before I say it. I cannot hide from you. No point in trying.

As it says in one of my favourite songs:

'I will praise the rock of my salvation
 - all my days are in his faithful hands.'

So I leave it all with you, faithful Lord. Thankyou for this weekend by the sea. You know what the week ahead has in store but I don't want to know right now. Maybe it's nothing and this time next week my mind will be on trivia again; or maybe it's something, and then who knows how I'll be but you? Either way, for now, I'm looking out of the window at the beautiful mysterious dark band of the sea at the end of the street, listening to the quiet as the children have finally settled down and looking forward to  the morning when we'll go looking for 'special' pebbles again.

I have a tradition that whenever we come to the seaside as a family, I find a pebble from the beach that has markings on it that make it look as if it's smiling. Then I draw eyes and a nose on it and label it with the place and the year, and it sits on the bookcase at home to remind me. I don't think I'll have a problem finding one this weekend as all the pebbles are smiling.  And so am I.

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