Our Hearts Thirst



All thy waves and billows
Have gone over me.
~Psalm 42:7

…Into the deep where ocean spray
Is recollected in the great
   Salt, billow-making womb.

Effortless elegance!
   Holy wildness!

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”

photo by Nate Gibson

…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.
~Blaise Pascal


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.


6 thoughts on “Our Hearts Thirst

  1. Emily, your entire posting today is important and relevant in so many respects. All parts fit together like a blessed collage. I thank you for your openness and your sincerity.

    You acknowledge the ‘tsunami-like forces beyond our control’ that assail and overpower us in all facets of our lives and in the future of our nation. If the 2016-17 election campaign promises of the president-elect (I feel angst and fear just saying that), together with the proven unqualified background of his proposed cabinet and immediate administrative team (family included) are enacted de jure or de facto we are in for a frightening four years.

    If the hard-won human/civil rights and environmental protections already guaranteed our citizens and those desiring to become citizens are removed our nation will truly experience a ‘dark night of the soul.’

    You have chosen a perfect metaphor in referring to ‘pebbles and ripples becoming change agents…that will grow and spread.’ The surface of our oceans will never be the same again. Nor will we. That is exactly what we need to do, dear Emily. Each of us – one person at a time – gathering and casting the metaphorical pebbles of faith and trust in our loving, ever-present God, and casting them upon the waters until they spread to every corner of our suffering imperiled world — united together against the spiritual warfare that is waiting to engulf us.

    Delighted that you chose the waters of our planet’s vast oceans that contain salt water. Scientists still disagree and write their research papers about whether life began in some mucked land-based tidal pool or in the depths of the oceans. No matter. By the gift of faith we know WHO created all life that exists on earth and in the universe.

    Ironic, isn’t it, that ‘salt’ and ordinary saline solution are such important elements in creation and in our human lives. Both have cleansing, curative powers. Wounds are flushed with the solution to prepare for healing. Human tears are release valves that free harmful emotions that deter healing.

    You and your beautiful thoughts, Emily, wondering how you ‘might do it’ – be a change agent….You have already done that. You continue to do it with each Spirit-fed thought that you share with us day after day.

    You let your words speak for you — to and for us. What a beautiful gift….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We each do our part as best we can not knowing the impact, but knowing that we must do our part. We sustain one another. And i know your ripples touch me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It sometimes feels like we’re sailing into Pepperland, complete with Apple Bonkers, Ferocious Flying Gloves, Snapping Turtle Turks, and a Chief Blue Meanie to boot. Uncharted waters for sure, but there is a way through. “All you need is love.”

    Over and over, in various and beautiful ways, Barnstorming illuminates and enriches our lives with this simple, invaluable reminder. And it has been known to brighten the darkest of dark nights.

    Liked by 1 person

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