I’m swimming in the Gulf, off the coast of Osprey, Florida (near Sarasota) a few days ago while in town celebrating my mom’s 90th birthday. And as I often do when in ocean water, and have stopped swimming to take in the vista around me … I dig for seashells with my feet. I find a small but pretty conch shell, and a delightful lightening whelk … and this hot mess of a rock that is the banner for this morning’s devotion. I am immediately drawn to is as my toes caress its pock-marked surface under the water. It comes home with me.
It is the random and diverse holes and cracks and tiny tunnels that cover its surface, which draw my attention. I wonder if some tiny creatures worked diligently to craft a few hidey-holes for themselves. Did the rolling tides of the ocean find particular footholds in some of the small indentations? Since I think this is a piece of scoria, I wonder if some of these cavities were forged hundreds of thousands of years ago as volcanic emissions, and then rounded out over time by the rolling tides of the oceans. I’ll never know, and don’t really care. I just like the look and feel of it. It feels and looks like it has a history … a history I will never know, and will probably not fantasize about once this devotion is finished crawling out of my mind … but a history, none-the less.
And I think about my own history … and I wonder about yours … and I even give an occasional moment’s thought to the histories of the people who pass quickly through my world … those for whom I have no knowledge regarding the currents and critters and potent forces that have shaped the lives they are living. And I draw the conclusion that their lives probably look a lot like mine, in their pock-marked and uneven appearances. It is a byproduct of being human in a messy world that is not always kind and gentle to us. Though some would disagree, I would propose to you that our lives were never intended to be gems to be polished and placed in a display case for admiration. They are the product of both heavenly and hellish forces in life that erode us as often as they do enhance us. It is “holy” work that God works upon us and within us … and in an imperfect world, that may result in “holey-ness” too, sometimes. But we really shouldn’t want it any other way, for it makes us “wholly” and completely God’s children.