All thy waves and billows
Have gone over me.
…Into the deep where ocean spray
Is recollected in the great
Salt, billow-making womb.
We walked nine miles of ocean beach
Yesterday and let the ocean
Rhythms–pulse-setting waves and tide-making
Moon–get inside us. Slowed
By this ancient pacemaker
Our hearts thirsted. We drank God.
~Eugene Peterson from “Assateague Island”
…when he looked at the ocean,
he caught a glimpse of the One he was praying to.
Maybe what made him weep was
how vast and overwhelming it was
and yet at the same time as near
as the breath of it in his nostrils,
as salty as his own tears.
~Frederick Buechner writing about Paul Tillich in Beyond Words
The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.
Most days I’m rocked by the most minute ripples and tiniest pebbles. The building waves created by forces beyond my control feel tsunami-like though they started out infinitesimally small. I can do nothing but let them flow over, around and beneath me, riding them up and down, trying not to get submerged for long and not get sea-sick.
Lately it feels like a barrage: instead of letting up, the billows roll larger and mightier, at times relentlessly powerful, changing everything in their path, including me.
Instead of being overcome by ripples, I hope some time to become the thrown pebble in a way that can move oceans or mountains or most amazing of all, another soul, just once. In some tiny way, I hope I can say or do or write something that makes a positive difference in someone’s life, and that person forwards the ripple, spreading the wave a little further, a little broader, a little deeper to affect others. Traveling far beyond the original thrown pebble, it can never to be pulled back once it is let loose.
I know what it is like for a blog post to go viral, becoming an ocean in churning turmoil, not a mere pebble starting with a least movement. Instead, I hope to be the most insignificant of change agents, serene and barely there, just moving enough of another heart and soul to start something that will grow and spread by itself, wild and wonderful.
I don’t know what it might be or how I might do it. Perhaps it is as simple as skipping rocks, choosing the best flattest pebble, rubbing the smooth sides between my fingers, and with a momentary regret at giving it up to the ocean, I’ll haul back and just let it go. It will skip once, twice, three four five even six times and then disappear below. The surface of the water will never be the same again.
Nor will I.