Friday, September 6, 2013

Week of Grace: Day 6

"I may be too tired to write tonight," I thought, "I don't know if I can even think anymore."

My body and mind were both limp with exhaustion from a busy work day on top of post-migraine fatigue. Yet there was something in me that still wanted to try. Grace is not only a gift - it is a call.

Rodger, my spiritual brother, had sent me an image for this Week of Grace, and some words to inspire me. "Perhaps I could start there..." I considered. I asked God's blessings and began.

The picture Rodger sent was of a sand dollar lying on the beach, a common sight along the coast, but never seen here in the Midwest. I realized that I didn't even really know what a sand dollar is - and so I read a bit online.

I learned that what is found on the shore is the hard outer shell (or "test") of the once-living sea urchin that feeds on plankton on the ocean floor.

The sand dollar's life develops from the union of egg and sperm floating in the sea, resulting in a larva that swims on its own and may be carried for miles by ocean tides. No care is received from the parents who provide only their seed. The larva undergoes a series of metamorphoses before it develops its test. Some varieties of sand dollars apparently live for 8-10 years or more.

Reflecting on the lives of these creatures, it struck me how remarkable it is that they survive, given their perilous start. And yet they do - and each one grows and changes into a round, flat durable adult that bears no resemblance to its early larval life. And on the test of each sand dollar is a beautiful design that resembles the petals of a flower.

As I write this, I cannot help but think of how, in a very different way, we humans often experience perilous starts in life, are carried away by tides and even grow hard shells. And yet, compared to the sand dollar, a much more profound metamorphosis is offered to each of us - and that indeed is great grace.

Below is Rodger's sand dollar image and a short poem I wrote this evening, while reflecting on its life...

(photo by Rodger, used with permission; editing and text by me)

it is time to let go –
to allow the turbulent sea
to take away the old self
and cast it on the shore.

it is time to be free –
to be washed of all that was
to be baptized into new life
by the ocean of His Love.

it is time to rise from darkness –
to leave the depths behind
to find a home in His great light
where grace and hope abound.