When you sit at the water’s edge, when you walk the beach right by the water, you notice the shells and debris that the water offers up from its depths. It’s taken years for some of these things to appear: glass that has been burnished by the sand and tide, driftwood that is bleached and smoothed, shells—live with animals and dead.
You are like that when you sit by the living waters of the Lord—over time more and more of the debris of your life surfaces, polished and sanded—parts of yourself long gone, you thought, mistakes you made, now with a beauty wrought by sand and surf, rough edges gone, and debris, some to be discarded, others saved as souvenirs of another time.
When you sit by the waters with Jesus, you are transformed by the action of the wind and wave and sand within. You spiral deeper and deeper into yourself like one of those spiral shells, examining what is there through the eyes of eternal time. You sit by the shore, by the territory we call blessed, that is heaven, and you are changed by its proximity.
You allow the eternal Lord into yourself to heal and mold and transform you. Like the “gifts of the sea”* in the words of Anne Morrow Lindberg, you become what God has intended you to be all along. As much as the waters roil and ebb and flow, you become more and more attuned to that rhythm, blessed more and more by its presence, by the presence of the Lord.
Now over the years spent by the waters, you become quiet inside, attuned to the whispers of the wind, the rhythm of the waters and the burnishing of the sand. You become still inside, and more and more connected to the Source of all there is. And in that stillness you are called to listen for what the Lord wants of you in this moment and the next. And as you are attuned to the stillness you can hear more clearly what you are to do and say.
So try out this meditation, imagine right now the beginning of this process, for all of us are beginners when we face each eternal minute with an open mind and heart. Read over the next paragraph and then sit, silently and follow the description’s lead. Don’t worry if you don’t remember all the things you’re supposed to do, you can do it over and over again and still receive something new each time. And don’t worry if you don’t receive a gift. There is no right way. Take your time with each instruction. And relax!
Sit or lie down quietly…get comfortable…take a few deep breaths and let them out slowly…Imagine that you are sitting on some rocks by the gentle waters of a lake or bay or ocean…You watch the waves…feel the warmth of the sun…dig your toes into the sand at your feet…you smell that strange and salty, seaweedy, fresh smell of the sea…you feel the gentle touch of a breeze…you breath in and out with the waters…Now in your mind’s eye stand and walk along the waters edge…see something that the waters are offering up for you…pick it up…listen deep inside for its significance…(if you don’t see or hear anything, that is ok, just relax and breath and walk a little farther on…ahead you see Jesus waiting for you…walk up to him and greet him…ask what message he has for you…if there is no message, just relax and feel his presence…as you walk back to the rocks think about what gift the sea has offered up to you today…how you feel about it….what Jesus said or conveyed…or just that you registered nothing from either the sea or Jesus…now slowly leave the beach and rocks and, water and waves and come back to full waking consciousness.