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Monday, May 5, 2014

Sometimes We Just Have to Lie Down to See Big

Earth’s star melts at horizon lip. Just melts like the ball of butter on stove top, and pours all gold and orange and red over ocean pan. I pour butter rich yellow and dinner pasta is ready.

But this sun! Impossibly perfectly round as if gases were solids. Impossible how the moon is rock that rises in thin air and the sun is gas and even part helium, that falls. Every night.

We watch ‘til it  pours melt all rich light at the end of our shore and about 1.3 million earths could fit inside it. It just melts all over the ocean ‘til it’s gone. We watch it sink. Watch it slowly come down as if someone poked a hole in it and the helium is leaking out.

We eat buttered noodles for dinner. Then walk starlit sand. Our steps string together behind us and the stars string together above us and the waves string together, too.

 I laugh a little giggle that I’m happy to say only God Himself hears, because I really don’t want to have to give truthful answer to, “What’re you laughing at?” God doesn’t ask, but, “It’s a noodle night!” It just popped into my head the way things do sometimes because it is a noodle night and it started with a plate of buttered string.

I stifle and restrain because I’m a grown-up and my German is a little lost in his own thoughts. My thoughts a stringing hilarity and I’m trying hard to tie them down. Trying to amaze serious about the night music some skilled and unseen musician is playing. Strumming the waves ‘til they vibrate their song and play right out under the stars and God finger. I manage. For a long moment.

But our girls. They have a bit of the play in them, too, and I jump clean out of my skin when they jump out from behind me. And our steps in the sand are lumpy noodle and our laughter somehow tangles up in the wind and sings out over wave song and it sounds good.

The “instagram” girl borrows dad’s i-phone to take a picture of the stars. Three tiny dots of light show up on black screen. Pin-points.

I wonder now as I have before, “Did You make the stars to remind us that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses? Are they witnessing our play? Are the stars the eyes of Heaven?” I think it silent and the picture taker is searching for the Big Dipper.

She lays down in the sand to look up higher and see wider. I lay down too. To be low and small and feel it under high and big. I help her look for Big Dipper and find Orion instead, but I’m really just helping me find humble.

And daughter who doesn’t want to get her clothes sandy, lays down too. Not on the sand. On sister. And it’s a stack of sisters looking up at the stars in laughter.

And me? I blurt, “Big Dipper? Big Dipper!” frantic-style as if the sighting would  sudden fly away somehow.

“We just had to lie down to see it.” Profundity from the college girl.

We just had to lie down. Just had to get small. Low. To see the Big.

I recognize the theme. It was theme in the coming down from forth floor balcony earlier and walking clumsy through sand and slanting lower down beach where it slopes lower too, down to ocean edge. And lower still into swirling foam. And still lower where waves crest high. And deeper, too, ‘til I was just shoulders and head.

“Yeah,” I said a little afraid and a little adventurous, “the surf is a lot bigger down here than it looks like from balcony!”

I feel it’s strength and am humbled by it and am holding it.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth,” and “Come down from balcony.” I heard it together. And hear it again. Now. “Come down. Go lower. Wade deeper. Lie down. Flat on back. And look up.” How He speaks!

“And inherit the earth. And the sand. The ocean. The melting all over earth and sky and water. The sun. The stars.”

I am in awe. Awe-stuck and struck down with it. By it. Because awe strikes us down to humble.
Moon Head

Moon. Moon head crowns at horizon and she births it. We watch the birth ‘til moon is full delivered and covered red. And it just floats up. And who ever thought a rock could float up?
The red runs down spill to ocean edge. Just pools there. And moon fades to deep orange. Floats higher and what’s this? Path? Across ocean? From this shore to that end of earth horizon? The waves themselves are still now. And the path is light.

“Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path…” the hymn comes to mind. And what to do with feet and path? It’s lit.


I would walk right on the water pathway all lit up.


The path it lit narrow on dark ocean wide.


The bidding knocks me a bit off-balance. Because the One who gives us clouds of witnesses cheering us on all star sight in dark night; and the One who spills on earth crimson from highest rock; and the One who strums waves into rhythm and beat and cadence is the One inviting, “Come.” It pleases Him.

All this pleases Him and I’m finding something out about all this.

His delight is my strength. His delight. Is my strength. It’s more than what I’ve thought before. My strength is more than to delight in the delightful One. It’s also just to give Him delight.

“What delights You?” I ask it new.

“Come down from balconies. Walk awkward in loose sand to ocean edge and let the lap lick your toes clean. Hear My voice in the crest and flow. Wade in knee deep. See the ocean line up to give and give wave after wave.” This delights Him right now.

It’s just not complicated to give Him delight. It’s really not. What’s complicated is to delight ourselves. This gets complicated. Because it’s never what we think. Not really, in a never changing way.

I stand at shore line and the outer froth of wave tickles my feet. And I can feel the sand pull out from underfoot, even here.

“Pull it all out from underfoot,” I dare pray. “Pull out from under my feet shifting sand. Shifting joy. Shifting peace. Shifting trust.”

“Stand on My Word.” He speaks it and I take a step back and there is no imprint there. Nothing to show for my being there at all. That’s how fleeting joy and peace and trust are when I’m being tickled by whatever is froth on this earth shore.

I’m getting it, a little.

“My Word is like a hammer that breaks rock in pieces.” I just read it in Jeremiah 16:29 and I dig my toes into those pieces of rock because that’s what sand is.

“Your Word leaves mark.” I remove sunglasses to see brighter and squint down length of beach all pieces of rock hammered by wave after wave. By deep calling to deep. Word calling to Word. And this long shore line has been marked by the call. Is being marked by the moving water and the call.

“Mark My Word.”

I put sunglasses back on. I’m a tad slow and sun burn is threatening while I stand here trying to get what He’s saying. And He’s saying it in so many ways!

“Mark Your Word?” I move my feet and there is no mark there and soul feet are sinking into this. “You mean, mark it for real?”

“Bookmark it. Ink mark it. Pencil mark it. High-light it.”  He’s spelling it out clear because He doesn’t want me to get a sun burn. No need for skin to chaff when Word is like fire for real chaff.

I’m back on balcony. It’s shaded and I have pen in hand and Word on lap. And here it is. In Jeremiah 23:16 and 18 and 28-29 right where we’ve been having this exchange.

“Who has marked My word and heard it?” And, “What is chaff to the wheat? Is not My word like a fire? And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?”

“Lord, there is still so much chaff in my life. So much that isn’t fine wheat. That isn’t pure staff of life. Bread.” I wish this balcony was lower.

I mark it. With ink. “There. Nothing but Your Word will break stony heart. Turn the stones into sand because sand sifts easy and I want to shake it out from my soul and let the wind carry it away.”

I stand up and shake sand from beach towel and let the wind carry it away from this balcony height just to show myself what it looks like. And I’m marking His Word in the shake.

“Where else? How else can I mark Your Word?” Because shaking that towel was very satisfying.

Shaking Out Towel

“Keep shaking out towels.” He does so speak my language!

It’s a lot to think on. A lot to absorb. But I know how to absorb the sun. I just lie still. And the sun marks me, tan, hopefully. It’s how to absorb the Son, Word of God. Lie still. “Be still and know that I am God,” is how to absorb the Son. And He marks me.

“Yes! I didn’t get sunburned!” No balcony today!

I charge at cresting wave and taste salt water and my sunglasses are spattered ocean sprsy. And “Ballyhoo!” It’s happy ruckus in ocean roar and “What delights You?” is question asked by those who come down from balconies just because they want to know the answer.

I’m coming down. Becoming one of those today. One of those asking just “What delights You? Just what?”

I’m asking not for the broad, “You delight Me” answer. I know that much; really I do. And it’s a plenty big enough answer and life changing to know. But today I see people surely delighting God without even knowing they are. Without even knowing Him at all. But surely He is delighted to see men, women and children all made in Father, Son, Holy Spirit image and creations of His joy so fully enjoying His stuff.

I see it today. Two little girls dig plastic orange shovels into beach sand. Two little boys dig real shovels several feet down ‘til only their heads are visible. And four young ladies wade out deep and laugh and “hoo-ha” like I did with my daughters, and four young men toss  a football in waist deep ocean.

And those my age. Just lie in sun chairs and visit all laugh and smile and walk at ocean edge and, well, not a single forty something woman is as uncomposed as I make myself today.

But there it is. The joy of the Lord marks me and I can blame my undignified larking on His joy. Blame my noodle thoughts and giggle from last night that I was a little embarrassed about for some reason, on His joy. He’s marking me and I’m marking His Word and these marks leave imprint that last through everything.

Today I watched the para-sailers and got all caught up in it and told my German that I would love to para-sail except that I fear my heart would just fall right out of me and plink into the ocean and that would be the end of me.

So I jump waves. Charge them. Dodge jelly fish that dare not sting me because I’m just all too happy for that and feeling that this…well…”Does this delight You?”

 “Yea-ah,” His voice bobs. And I think He’s jumping waves with me.

I laugh inside picturing God jumping waves and think that I just don’t want balconies. I want low and deep and to wade into His joy and feel it surge.

And to be marked by it.

And to trust the way He marks.

And to lie still, too, to be marked by His peace.

And to be knocked off balance simply.

 It’s not complicated.

I’m struck down humble by simple.


written by: Carolyn Roehrig

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