For several weeks, I have been reading novels and non-fiction about some of my favorite places. They are fantasy places where I go in my imagination and places we visited when on tour. I have never lived in any of those places. I’ve never had to deal with limitations or issues that local folks do. I like the idea of those places where I can erase any historical ugliness or injustice.
Over the same time frame, my wife has been fascinated with the extreme opposite corner of the continent: Alaska. Have you watched “The Bush People?” It is a survival show. The current episode features the family building a raft to transport a truck across a body of water. The show is filled with commercials and “cliff hangers.” Getting their huge raft onto the water is solved by moving it closer to the water’s edge and then waiting for the tide to come in and launch the homemade barge.
I found the commonality: the tides. Just off the coast of South Carolina—where I visited yesterday in my reading—a boat is caught in the fog and is inadvertently driven onto a sandbar. The only solution is to wait for the tide to come in and lift the skiff off the bar.
John Kennedy was referring to economics when he said, “A rising tide raises all boats.” One of Carole’s cousins is in town to talk to a nationally-based group about illiteracy. Learning how to read is one of the rising tides that lifts people off the sandbar.
What is going to happen to and through you this week that will have the effect of a rising tide? A rising tide to lift your soul off the muddy reef and cleanse the beach?
A couple of phrases from Beach Music by Pat Conroy make me aware of how many of us are hung up on the sandbars:
“She had so mastered the strategies of camouflage that her own history had seemed a series of well-placed mirrors that kept her hidden from herself.”
“I found myself fully in love with my own story all over again.”
(Beach Music, Pat Conroy,1995, 2009 Deal Press.)
Carole and I were talking about an acquaintance who is hung up on a sandbar that may as well be a prison. Life has had some terrible episodes and I don’t want to minimize how difficult. How does that person love “my own story all over again?”
The protagonist of Conroy’s story is describing his relationship to a former girlfriend:
“Her mother didn’t like you at all,” Leah said.
“She thought Ledare could do a lot better,” I said. “She had a way of looking at me when I picked up Ledare (for a date) as though I were a urine sample.”
My acquaintance has enough convincing evidence to believe even God pictures them that way. How is that fixed? Redemption. I don’t mean that person needs to get saved. They are saved—but it doesn’t seem to be enough. Read the New Testament with no filters and it proclaims that Jesus can reach into our guts, memories and bent structure and heal us—redeem what He first had in mind before we ran aground.
Rip off the camouflage and replace it with an accurate holy, Kingdom view of self. My acquaintance cannot easily fall in love with his past, but having been healed that child of God can fall in love with the person God is calling into being.
Is there a lifting tide that powerful?
©D. Dean Benton