Treasures of the Deep

I saw a Fox News post  a few days ago, reporting that a treasure  was found in a sunken ancient cargo ship near Israel. The ship was filled with artifacts, statues, and idols that were estimated to be approximately 1600 years old. In fact the post indicated that the deep ocean sand, that had kept this ship and contents covered for so many years, had actually preserved the statues  as if they were cast yesterday. What a find!

Well, I am not  an Archaeologist or a Treasure Hunter, but it is interesting to think about treasures of the deep. When my kids were young and we would go to the beach, they would dig and play in the sand searching for sunken treasure. Of course we had probably watched too many pirate movies, but it is intriguing to think about that part of history and wealth that is sometimes uncovered from the deep ocean floor.

The treasures often consist of valuable coins and jewels, but also ceramics and crafted artistry, that speaks to life from another time. The value of most of these finds is incredible and in many cases the treasures are returned to their place, of origin to be appreciated in a museum setting.

When I walk the beach I don’t think about uncovering sunken treasure, at least not the kind referred to above. I do ponder the treasures in my life, both past and present. I offer thanks to the Lord for the gift of those relationships , both family and friends, that have entered my life and encouraged me, challenged me and even at times carried me. Some of these relationships go back more than 40 years, others have only existed for 5 years or less, but the richness of the quality of the relationship is as if it were 40 years.

We live in an age where everything is easily disposed of or put aside to be buried and forgotten ( not unlike the hidden treasures of the deep, lost in a storm or crisis). I am learning that all things in this life are temporal.  Money, jobs, titles, stuff, all shift and change in value through the seasons, but true deep intimate relationship with family and friends is greater than any gold or jewel to be found in the ocean’s deep.

I have had relationships shift in different seasons of life; but regardless of the season, prior crisis or storm, that may have resulted in some of these precious treasures to be hidden deep; I do not want to lose any one of them, nor place them in a museum to be viewed at on rare occasion. I want to hold deeply and respond richly with words of life, love and encouragement to my greatest treasures, my family and dear friends.

We all know that relationships come in different layers of intimacy and devotion, but my prayer is that whenever I cross paths with my loved one, no matter how far the distance in time or space, I will embrace them with warmth, strength and much laughter and joy, for it is in you dear family member and dear friend that I am a woman of great wealth….


Smoothing Rough Places

Walking on the beach quiets my soul and draws out a peaceful space in my heart and head. When I have the sand between my toes, the noise and troubles of the world come with a different perspective. I think more clearly,and pray more deeply and wait on God, and He is always Faithful to make His presence more palpable.

When I was a child I loved to walk in my bare feet. Whenever  time permitted I kicked off my shoes and headed outdoors. I loved to feel the blades of grass under my feet and the smooth sidewalk as I made my way to my friends house. Once there I would savor the feeling of the soft shag carpet or cool terrazzo floors displayed in many of the homes in my neighborhood. For me, walking barefoot equated with freedom.

Shoes were a necessity for church, school and later work, but I was always eager to break free of the straps, buckles and laces, whenever possible .  I still kick my shoes off whenever the situation permits. Now in my middle years (okay, maybe a bit past the middle, depending on the endpoint), I have noticed that my feet are toughened , rough and calloused. I chalk it up to a life well spent, and often joke that I could probably walk on hot coals and not even notice, but truth be told, the cute sandals don’t look as cute with all of those tough patches and rough places.

I am not a woman that pampers herself often, so I can count on one hand the number of pedicures I have received. Don’t get me wrong, they are awesome and the work that is done to smooth the rough places before applying the new color or hue to the toes is both relaxing and exhilarating, but I prefer to head to the beach and walk along the varied terrain and let the sand smooth out the rough patches.

Isn’t it interesting that it takes something coarse like sand to smooth out rough places? In my case the rough places developed over time and I wasn’t even aware that it was occurring. I wasn’t aware that my feet were becoming tough and less sensitive and well quite honestly unsightly. I think sometimes life circumstances and choices can have the same effect, we fall  into a pattern of relationship or behavior that creates rough spots and may even harden our hearts and minds to matters that we should be sensitive to and responsive to.

At times my heart and mind enter coarse times and seasons, some which have fallen upon me and some of which I have walked right into. Yet when I walk through it with my heart and eyes set upon the Lord, Trusting in His will, there is a smoothing effect in my  character.  I think of Luke 3:5 “Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth…”  (Holy Bible,N.I.V.)

The next time you are considering  a pedicure, find the nearest beach instead and go into the presence of His Beauty with an open mind and heart…

I Love the feeling of sand between my toes.

There is a serenity that releases within me when I step into the soft sands by the ocean. So many senses are awakened when I am at the beach. The sand between my toes generates  a coarse granular  impact that results in a smoothing out of rough places.

Isn’t it funny, a grain of sand is so tiny, but the sands on a beachfront  represent multitudes of larger rocks and shells that have been weathered through life’s storms and the basic movement of the tides . A newly formed beauty with regenerated purpose.

Sand is even referenced in the changing of seasons and the passing of time. It is interesting that sand alone is considered to be  a risky foundation when building a structure, but when a storm is coming, sandbags are used to shore up and hold off surging floodwaters.

Like everything in life, a place, purpose and season formed by the Creator. My hope and prayer is that God will make smooth the way before you and refresh you in this place, wherever you find the sand between your toes, whether on a serene beach, or trekking through a lonely desert.