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Blessed to walk many a shoreline near and far.  On the sand of a great lake, an ocean, or a sea have been left the footprints of my heart.    I am reflecting on the thoughts in my mind as I ran this beach just days ago.  And what I now think as I “stand” on this beach in my mind as my eyes are closed.

Then I thought of the power of the waves that connect us across a vast space.   Now I think of the water as an open hand to catch tears falling from many a face.   Then I thought of high tide and low tide and how I laughed as I misjudged what the tide’s rhythm would do.   Before I could move left quick enough, I had a water-filled shoe.  Now I think of the ebb and flow of the tides like joy and sorrow that roll across our paths as we live.  Like a sudden wet shoe in a moment’s blink, so to are the seconds that crash upon us so very quick.

Dear Roo, as I know you see, many hearts around me are hurting this week.   I was blessed to have you tell me in advance that it would soon be your time to leave.   Though I still wasn’t ready, I was prepared for my destiny with grief.    Friends didn’t have preparation for the loss they now know.  Shock is interwoven in the pain that has taken hold.    Though my breath is still caught from time to time when I think of you, most often it is a smile that I am able to do.    Certain of my friends are remembering those they hold dear.  Their smiles, like sand castles that get washed away, eroded by their wave of tears.  Knowing that tears are abundantly flowing to my left,  my right, in front, and behind me, I can’t help thinking about these large bodies of water differently.

The sound of the waves and they roll and crest.   Now I ponder perhaps it is the water’s rise and fall of its own chest.  Perhaps it is the water that cries too, that wishes there was more it could do.   When the water rises for high tide, perhaps it is not just a collection of others’ but is also from it own tears cried.   When the waves are taller and are rapidly rolling into shore, perhaps it is the ocean’s frustration that it can’t do more.   When a storm brews and the waves grow dangerously, perhaps it is when the sea or lake, too, is overwhelmed with grief.

But then again, perhaps it is not these great bodies of water hurting as they catch the outpouring of pain’s release.  Perhaps it is about their ability to absorb no matter the abundance of grief.   Because they are so large, they can be there for more than one or two who hurt so.  Perhaps because their shores stretch from continent to continent, their purpose includes being everyone’s hand to hold.  A person can walk the shores of the Atlantic in South America, crying tears only for the ocean to see.  This same ocean will have an outstretched hand for the person in North America who is also crying secretly.  And the waves that roll from one to the other and back carry love and hope; that neither person is alone and slowly, ever so slowly, peace will come as grief is let go.

A harmony, a rhythm to each wave that rolls onto a beach.   Steady, soothing, promising.   The continual roll of the waves smooth out the sharpest edges of a shell or broken piece of glass.   These objects reminders that in time, sorrow, too, will lose its jagged edges, it’s so very sharp stabs.    A softened shell or remnant of glass doesn’t smooth to the point it disappears completely from the sand on which it lies.  So, too, loss does not wash away, but finds a way to rest gently as we step forward in life.

I think of a surfer who relishes the waves the bigger they are, the mightier a surfer seeks.   The greater the challenge, the braver, the more the surfer believes.  The power of the wave, like the power of life.  The surfer runs with open warms to find.   Fear, adventure, trust, courage, and mistakes, bumps, and bruises, too.   Even when a wave stronger than the surfer, try again a surfer’s purpose beckons him to do.  A surfer’s love stronger than any forceful wave.   A refusal to give in, a will to not cave.

I think, too, of the dolphins that play in waves so gleefully.    They relish the rises and dips as the waves roll effortlessly.    I think even more of these dolphins and their power they have in who they are; healing someone sick or in pain is their gift to impart.   That they are in a great body of water like the ocean speaks volumes to me.   A partner to the ocean in catching tears of grief.   They aren’t always seen – rarely will a person walking the shore see a dolphin’s joy abound.  Ah, but we don’t need to see our angels to still feel how they surround.

These great bodies of water that have always brought peace and tranquility.   I am seeing with new eyes their power, their beautiful glory.   We can stand at their water’s edge and not see the other side.  Our choice to feel overwhelmed by the vastness, or to have faith what we need will appear at the right time.  We can think the water dangerous or we can think it a safety net.   We can think it cold to the touch, or we can find comfort when it splashes and gets us wet.   We can find security in it’s sureness that the waves will roll, ebb, and flow second by minute by day.   Or we can wish that for once the waves would be still and let us stay in place the same.  We can embrace these bodies of water – like embracing life.  Or we can find pain to hard to bear and let ourselves wash away with the tide.

With my toes at the water’s edge of these great pillars of certainty I pray.  That those in tears will find fortitude, that they will find their faith.   May the waves wash in hope and love, may the waves bring peace.   May the water’s retreat gently carry away the sorrow and grief.   In gratitude great bodies of water for every shore I have had the honor to walk with you as you ebbed and flowed at my feet.   Namaste dear great lakes, oceans, and seas.