I am back on the coast of Maine after a year off last year because of the pandemic. Although there are a few rather dreadful changes (construction of a tall, view-blocking hotel in the heart of Rockport village), the natural beauty of sea, sky, lush green lawns, and wildflowers remains untouched.
One of the greatest blessings about the small, handsome house we rent is that it has an unobstructed panoramic view of Penobscot Bay, and it is perched within a stone’s throw of the beach, a rocky, treasure-strewn crescent which I visit every day, weather, and tides, permitting. This beach is the place where I lose myself the most and am able to see the best.
Many of you reading this have undoubtedly heard me talk about, or even preach about the first time I saw a piece of emerald sea glass twinkling up from a cluster of timeworn rocks. You would have thought I’d found the golden egg at an Easter egg hunt! I picked it up, marveled at how smooth its broken edges had become over time. It wasn’t long before every fragment of sea glass, no matter how tiny, had become a metaphor for me.
The glass had once been beautiful, shiny, and useful. Then it had been thrown into the sea, battered over and over by waves crashing upon rocks until its sharp jagged edges were worn smooth as silk, still shining, though, and treasured by those who noticed them.
One late afternoon I went to the beach and was startled to see a man and a woman there whom I had never seen before. It turned out that they were renting the house around the bend of the bay and had wandered over during low tide. He was a geologist sharing with his wife the archeology of the ancient Maine rocks.
Full disclosure: I was relieved that they weren’t sea glass collectors (so much for my Christian charity), but I was also intrigued by a certain kind of rock that my local friends called ‘Lucky Rocks,’ the smooth grey stones that have a distinct white line running across them, so I asked him about them.
‘What is the history of these rocks? I asked, picking one up from the beach and handing it to him. Fortunately, he gave me the layman’s version instead of spouting geological terms. “That’s a rock that once was whole but was broken in half. Over time, it was sealed back together by the white sediment that seeped in.”
“How old would this one be?”
“Well over a million years, could be five million.”
I never saw the couple again but I have never forgotten that encounter, and, again as many of you know because I’ve given you one of those rocks, I now pick up every ‘lucky’ rock I see. They remind me that healing has been part of life from the beginning.
When I get home to Memphis, I give sea glass and rocks away. “Take this piece of sea glass,” I say, “as a reminder to you that your rough edges are made smooth.”
“Take this rock as an outward and visible sign that brokenness can be healed; that two will be one again.”
Below is a photograph of my recent ‘Catch of the Day,’ a feast for the eyes and for the Spirit, fresh from the sea. I’m glad to take ‘orders’ if anyone would like some.