What is it about the sea that calls to my spirit? I think a little bit of it has to do with its moods and “new every morning” colors and faces. It reminds me of God, somehow. There’s the constant. The tide rolls in and then ebbs out in a steady rhythm, in concert with the moon, as the earth makes its way around the sun. It also commands respect and awe. One must never take for granted its power and might. At the same time there is grace in the waters. Teeming with all manner of creatures the sea is full of beauty, and its waters are necessary for all life on our planet. Not only that, there is a wildness, not unlike the Holy Spirit. You never know which way its “winds” will blow, and what fresh wonder it will bring.
In the beginning, according to Genesis, darkness was over the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters (Genesis 1:2). And, when God spoke, light and life came into being…. There is something primal about water. Not only are humans made primarily of water (60%), we are formed in the watery darkness of the womb. It is where we begin, and therefore why I think for many of us, there is a sort of siren call to the sea.
Author and artist, Mary Ann Radmacher, has penned the words, “I Come to the Sea to Breathe.” The idea has resonated with me from the time I first saw it in beautiful calligraphy, as a piece of art, in a store in Cannon Beach, Oregon. It has been a word that has called me, time and again, to the shores of the sea. Not solely for fun and vacation purposes either, but just as frequently in times of weariness, illness, and the need for deep, soul rest. Each visit has given me perspective and the great gift of a deeper communion with the Creator and Lover of my soul.
One thought in particular came to me one day as I walked along the beach. One grain of sand does not make a beach, nor does one drop of water make an ocean. In the same way, we as humans are part of something bigger. We are all part of one another and are stronger in community. Additionally, we are part of this big beautiful creation and it is incumbent upon us to care for it, as we were created to do.
My affinity for Celtic spirituality gives voice to the connectedness I feel for creation and all that is in it. Ray Simpson, the author of Celtic Christianity reflects that:
The Celtic Christians looked upon creation as lovable and enjoyable, as did God when he created it (Genesis 1:31). The following lines, attributed to Columba, portray a love of creation in relation to God: “Delightful would it be to me…to be on pinnacle of a rock, that I might often see the face of the ocean; that I might see its heaving waves over the wide ocean, when they chant music to their Father.” pp. 142.Simpson, Ray; Celtic Christianity: Deep Roots for a Modern Faith; Vestal, NY; Anamchara Books; pp. 142.
In that spirit, I share the following watercolor paintings and poems. They have been painted and penned in different seasons, and different moods. Perhaps, like the sea for me, they will reflect some of the wonder of the Creator.
Abyss I live on the edge of the abyss, one handhold on the edge of the boat. Waves rolling, water churning. Deep calls out to deep. One moment I am consumed. Drowning. Flailing, I grasp the edge, caught between the fierce desire to survive, and wonder, at what awaits should my hand let go. Would Someone catch me, should I surrender? Or, would I simply sink down into the dark, wet, once again concealed in a womb of water? Sinking deeper, and deeper, until I am no more. What keeps me tethered to the boat in this struggle against the mounting storm? Would Love find me and bear me home, or must I fight and wrestle on alone? Perhaps light is found in the plunge, or maybe it is found in hanging on, despite the raging tempest of the abyss. ~Leesa 2/2015
OCEAN Cobalt, sapphire turquoise, marine, midnight, sky, teal, cerulean… How many are your colors, the moods you wear, beneath your waves? Some days, a high- spirited friend, your power contained for earth’s delight. Yet, commanding fear and respect, with immeasurable expanses and terrifying might. Ebbs and flows, and fathomless depths, teeming with life, you seldom rest. Kissing land, both sand and rock, to shape, to form, and re-create. Like a baptismal dance, your waters, by cloud, are carried in drops to fall and wash: flowing down, down, mountains in crystal streams. Curving and carving until at last, you return once more to wavy shores. Your rhythmic pulse, a remembered womb- whisper, draws hearts to ponder you. L.A.B. 3/15/21
Retired Presbyterian Lay Pastor/Spiritual Director/Writer
As a recently retired Lay Pastor, I am currently enjoying time caring for my grandchildren.
A life-long learner and student of theology, I have several certificates in ministry, including one
in spiritual direction; as well as, a master’s degree in Theology. I view my current situation as
another “classroom” where I am being fed and shaped to do the work to which God is calling me.
Writing has always been a dream of mine, and I believe this is a season to begin pursuing that
calling. I recently joined “Hope*Writers,” and will have a poem and article published in
Celtic Nations Magazine, December 2020 addition. My deepest desire for any work that I do is to give
glory to God and to be a voice of hope and light in the world.