I spent three days on Bowen Island walking, praying, and watching the seagulls. I noticed that when one or two birds landed on the calm sea others followed. God seemed to be telling me that as I rest in him, others will be drawn to his rest as well.
I loved this peaceful, attractive image and carried it home.
On the ferry ride back every noise sounded amplified. The ship’s horn signalled the return of Real Life. I joined the queue and disembarked into a sea of tense faces, deadlines, e-mails, phone messages, disappointments, and complications.
The next two days offer no solitude. I notice that I am irritable and judgmental. People squawk and fly off.
Two o’clock in the morning, I’m awake. Tired of tossing and turning, I get up and try to pray and write this mood out of me. My own words land, flick cold wet thoughts:
I am ready to welcome and receive…
all of who you are
and all of who I am.
No, I’m not. I don’t like all of who I am. I don’t like being irritable or unkind. I want to be that gentle bird floating peacefully, attractively.
A wise person told me that our weaknesses endear us to God.
He quoted Johannes B. Metz. “Only through poverty of spirit do we draw near to God; only through it does God draw near to us. Poverty of spirit is the meeting point of heaven and earth, the mysterious place where God and we encounter each other.”
When I first heard that quote, I couldn’t quite picture “poverty of spirit.” Now I not only see it, I feel its salty chill.
Sometimes I have the grace to be still and, out of God’s silence, say the words that draw others to God.
And sometimes I’m just another scrappy gull in a restless flock.
But the Spirit reminds me that God loves all of who I am. Jesus not only meets me in my contented stillness but mysteriously descends into my soul’s stable and makes his home there.
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
— Matthew 5:3