Thursday, February 21, 2008
Go Slow, Be Quiet, Wait
Anybody who has watched National Geographic television knows that a reef is a living thing pulsing with the life of coral, colorful fish and a variety of critters large and small. The problem is that they only show those beautiful reefs that are popular with divers and snorkelers. I like those places too, and have spent many an hour happily swimming around near them. But our reef is different. Our shallow bay is pinched off at both ends by lava rock intrusions into the sea, and a half moon reef encircles it to protect about a quarter mile of beach. Here the water is a bit sandy, visibility is limited, and the waves and swells over the reef mean that it is never still. In other words, it’s not an aquarium. So the trick is to swim slow and be patient. Just hover over a coral encrusted boulder for a while and wait. In time the fish come out. Two arguing over territory, a small one evading a big one, urchins hiding in crevices, sea weed waving back and forth, eels popping in and out, and maybe, if you are lucky, a green sea turtle or two. It saddens me when I hear someone come out of the water exclaiming that there is nothing to see, that it’s all dead out there. The same is true when walking along up in the hills and mountains at home. You have to be patient and wait for nature to reveal itself. Even in our backyard it is only through quiet patience that the enormous life it holds becomes evident. Lent can be a time of patient waiting that will allow our inner vision and hearing to become focused on the abundance of holy life that exists all about us, the true miracles of daily life, and the incredible variety of forms in which God’s presence is made known to us. It saddens me when I hear someone exclaim that they have looked for God and found nothing, no sign of the holy anywhere. You need to go slow, be patient, be quiet, wait. God will be revealed in more ways than you thought possible, even in the limited visibility of waves breaking over you.