There is something about sitting on the seaside which can be immensely healing. The tide rolls in and then out in its dance of magnetism within the cosmos. One feels quite appropriately small. And it is healing to feel small, since the permission to rest seems delivered alongside feeling small the way a coupon is handed to me alongside my grocery receipt. “Here, have a free second box of cake mix if you buy the first one the next time you are in our store. Really. It’s a gift with our thanks for your business.”
And that is how it seems to be with God at times. “Here, have a view of two crabs dancing in a pool of water while you rest. You need the colors of the crab – rust, salmon, brown, pink – those colors are a free gift for shopping with us – for rest at the seaside.” Love God. (Jesus says “Hi”.)
When I die, and die I will one day; I do not expect I will think much of the money I have raised, or the books written or even of the pottery which came from my potter’s wheel. No. I will think of the faces of the members of congregations – I loved them. I will think of Kai, for I loved him. I hope will think of a little great sex, butter toffee, and a few clips from America’s Funniest Videos – The Pet Edition. I will think of friends whom I loved over deep drafts of red wine and bits into hot bread into which butter had soaked. And a radish with sea salt.
And I will think of this moment with these two crabs, both sparing with each other, climbing over each other in a pool made by rocks – a pool no larger than a salad bowl. I will think of the way the colors of their shell played on the grey of the granite and the sparkle of the silica in the stone.
God made it all. It was a great gift. The gallop of a horse. The soft, oily coat of Kai sleeping in the sun spot he found by the window. The oily sheen on the bee’s wings as she moved from flower to daisy to gladiola. The way the white-dinner-plate-moon reflected off the butter cups, making them wink conspiratorialy with the stars. These are the things that are important. No matter what happens to us, no matter what betrayals and manipulations, successes and accolades – only the people and the beauty we loved will remain.
I have a friend – an Episcopal Priest – and she says, often in my presence of late, “God will not be mocked.” We mock God when we think we have done great things. We have not. We have done small things. The great thing is the way a crab reflects colors in a rock-bowl of water by the sea in Maine on a summer’s day. The great thing is simply seeing the colors and wondering how God could have so perfectly arranged the way rust, gives way to salmon and then to pink with what seems like a tiny wisp of yellow on a crab shell. It is a huge relief to let go and simply see pink and greenish brown moving in water – and be grateful for it against the black and grey of a rock.