Symphony of the Sea: You Can’t Stick It in a Pocket

by Rosemarie Fitzsimmons

Wading along the water’s edge at the farthest point of Cape Cod while waves gently lap my toes, I breathe in deeply, grateful for a brief opportunity to escape land-locked Northern Virginia for a trip up the coast. I close my eyes, letting memories from my childhood wash over me as the warm morning sun caresses my soul and the breeze kisses my hair. It’s like a hug from the earth.

It’s been years since my last beach vacation. A displaced Rhode Island native, I need regular infusions of coastal exposure because long absences sap my energy. I’ve been away too long.

As a writer, I’m unable to leave my work behind completely. That’d be like a photographer leaving behind the camera. However, on this trip I also carry with me worries about the next steps in my fledgling career. Where has the time gone? Over the past few months, I’ve been slogging through deadlines and paid assignments as if I were in the wet marshland we saw a few miles back, wrenching one muck-covered foot free just as another sinks. I’m pushing forward, but getting nowhere, really.

My own work sits long-untouched in notebooks at my beach chair. Bits of stories, a rough sketch of my next novel’s main character, half-written blog posts. My yearning heart reaches for it, but a dense fog seems to be blocking the way. Through the mist, I can almost hear a mournful cry.

“She loves me, she loves me not.”

Oh, I do love you, but I cannot answer you yet. Today, I must focus on something greater. It’s the only way I can find my way back.

Again I breathe deeply. Something about the sea air, the rhythmic waves and the immense volume of Atlantic Ocean stretching beyond the horizon makes me feel like a speck of sand in a vast universe.

A precious speck of sand, though. Small, but by no means insignificant, for if God knows the names of every star in every universe, He surely knows mine, and why I exist. He also knows where my writing career is heading, and whether I can continue to pursue it or if I should do the mature thing and get a “real job.”

Something waltzes across my toes and I notice the cavalcade in the sand for the first time. Sea shells are in short supply here on the icy cold side of the peninsula. Instead, each wave ushers forth a cascade of colorful stones that scramble and tumble over one another as they dance to shore. The swells recede, they leave behind a carpet of pebbles glistening in the sun like gems in a treasure chest: pinks, browns, whites, and blacks all marbled together—a joyous testimony of God’s infinite creativity. I pick through them, wondering about the journey they travelled to get to me today. The years spent on the ocean bottom until just the right motion released them—was it a storm at sea, perhaps, or the swish of a whale’s tail? I wonder how much churning and tumbling these stones endured to attain such a smooth, polished finish, just to land at my feet at this moment to dance for me.

I pick out some translucent pink beauties and a bold red clay stone emblazoned with a white lined pattern and put them into my pocket. A new wave quickly sends replacements.

The lapping water reminds me that God tells the ocean, “This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt.” I smile to think that the stones don’t seem to care where they’re heading in their tumbling journey, and the waves seem pleased to turn back after depositing each bountiful display at my feet. Nature is content to do God’s bidding.

I wander back to the beach chair and try to write, but Instead fall victim to the mesmerizing symphony of water and sea birds being chased by the wind. I drowsily close my eyes and listen, soaking up the peace in the billowing breeze.

At the end of the day I pack up my unwritten words and empty pages, stowing them in my beach bag, along with a small twinge of guilt over my nonproductive day. Reaching into a pocket for my car keys, I find the stones that I’d stashed there earlier.

And I freeze, stunned by the “treasure” in my hand.

The once-enchanting gems are just ordinary rocks, no longer glistening, but dry and dull.

Boring. Listless. Rocks.

I turn back to look at the sea, this time with a different sort of wonder. As long as these stones danced where God had sent them, they had a vital role amid a large production. They added joy and beauty to a peaceful scene. They made me smile, and likely many others who paused to watched the show. They spoke to my worries by reminding me that God’s hand still orchestrates, not only this concerto, but all concertos. Even my small, first-grade clarinet solo of a life.

Driving back to my hotel, I can only smile.

I tried to stuff music notes into my pocket.

That night I pray, inspired by God’s lesson for me.

I’ll be your pebble, Lord. Send me where You want me, even to a cubicle, if that’s Your plan. Protect me from those who would pocket my words, lest they become dry and dull. Show me where my writing can dance best for You. Wherever you send me, I’ll sparkle like a jewel there.

Because it’s Your show.

 

Rosemarie Fitzsimmons is the author of the Selah Award-winning Caged Sparrow, and blogs as The Portrait Writer (rosethestoryteller.com) about seeing God and finding joy in the everyday. She lives in Northern Va with her husband Jerry, their youngest son Charles, and a somewhat unstable Egyptian Mau named Aslan.

 

 

 

hope, renewal, serving God, Rosemarie Fitzsimmons, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

Comments (3)

  • anon

    This post really spoke to my heart. I can so relate. Here I sit at my desk with a half written blog post, ideas for the next few jotted down as well as other projects the swirl in my mind. 
     
    And yet... my son is coming home from the Air Force and we are planning a trip to the beach! I'm from Southern California, so I will be at the Pacific ocean whereas Rosemarie was at the Atlantic. It doesn't matter, really. What matters is, the same wonderful, amazing God, commands these oceans. I'm going to go with my family and bask in all the wonder of God's creation. I'm going to let Him direct the next project. He will lead me exactly where I need to go.
     

    Aug 16, 2016
  • anon

    Rosemarie,
    I love this picture! If we dance where we're meant to be, we'll shine, but if we try to go away from where God wants us to be, we'll be dull and lifeless. I love this! Thank you for your beautiful words. By the way, no matter where God places you, it seems to me that you were meant to write too.
    Heather Bock
    www.glimpsesofjesus.com
     

    Aug 16, 2016
  • anon

    Rosemarie,
    Loved this message. I loved your analogy of the waters not caring where they were sent, and the pebbles too. I'll probably remember those images for a long time!
    I wrote a devotion a few weeks ago about a similar theme. (Submitted it to The Upper Room, hopefully they'll accept it!). It was about one time when I was on a boat tour - I didn't care where we went because obviously the tour guide knew what he was doing. I tried to even enjoy the choppy parts of the ride. That's an attitude I need to mimic in my life, because we have to appreciate God being the captain and tour guide. I think it's important to set goals, but we shouldn't get our heart overly set on them - God might have a different OR better plan, so we should stay open-minded as we work toward those goals. We should aim to be flexible and teachable, not too rigid.
    Again, lovely piece. I might share this with a few friends.
    Lauren Craft
    www.inspiredbookshelf.com

    Aug 16, 2016

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Winning the Victory: A Blog by Katy Kauffman

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As co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies, Katy is a Bible study author and editor of Refresh Bible Study Magazine. Follow Katy's blog to receive posts sharing practical strategies for winning life's spiritual battles. 

 

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