|Peconic Bay from Greenport|
One of the great things about living on Long Island is that you are never far from the water, whether it be the Atlantic Ocean, the Long Island Sound, the Great South Bay, or the many inlets, coves, estuaries, and ponds that make up the Island. I grew up on Long Island and on the water. As a child in Brooklyn (yes it is part of Long Island) I spent summers at Coney Island where both sets of grandparents lived, or on my dad's boat joyfully swimming off the stern or hanging off the bow and we cruised through the bays off Brooklyn. When we moved to Nassau County (the "real" Long Island) we actually lived on Reynolds Channel and it was there that I learned to pilot a boat. We would take trips on dad's boat and when we weren't boating we were down at the beach. Moving to Seaford after I got married found me no more than a mile from the canals and a short 5 mile drive to the beach. While I don't go boating that often anymore, I do enjoy when we do go out and beach the boat or drift around the bay. I like to kayak, or just sit at the edge of the beach.
So what has all this to do with spirituality? I think a lot. Yesterday my husband and I took a ride to the North Fork, a lovely area of Eastern Long Island filled with vineyards, farm stands, nurseries and quaint little towns. We spent most of the day by the water at Greenport, Orient Point and having lunch on the Sound. It was a peaceful day and my thoughts turned to the Lord. Jesus loved the water. Last Sunday's gospel even found Him walking on it. Wouldn't that be fun! He chose His closest disciples from those who made their living fishing. Do I know about fishing! I don't particularly enjoy it, but having lived and live with men who get great enjoyment out of it, I know it takes a certain kind of person since fishing involves planning, preparation, patience, sometimes disappointment, but also a desire for the big haul. No wonder Jesus chose a fisherman to lead the church and used the image of gathering fish to describe those who lead people to Christ.
|The beach at Orient and lighthouses at Plum Gut|
|Orient Point Lighthouse|
Jesus also chose water as the means to be re-born in Him. To me being close to the sea allows me to be closer to Jesus. Feeling the gentle waves wash over me reminds me of baptism. But back to Scripture. Most of the stories of Jesus and water involve trust. The disciples were afraid of the storms on more than one occasion, and they really didn't trust that Jesus would make it all OK. No wonder what He admonished them "Oh you of little faith." But upon looking out at the lighthouses in Plum Gut and Orient Point yesterday, I recalled that Christ is our Light. A lighthouse is often used as a contemporary image for Christ, who is the beacon that protects us from crashing against the rocks of destruction and despair and also leads us to the Safe Harbor that He keeps for those who Love Him.
Sometimes we talk about moving off the Island. It would be nice to live in the mountains or in a small town far away from the city. But leaving the water would be difficult. I know God is everywhere but for me, He is present in a special way by the sea. He is present in all His might in the crashing of the waves. He is present in His gentle touch in the water gently rocking my boat. He is present in His omnipotence in the vastness of the ocean. He is present in His Joy as I float and play by the shore. He is present in His healing ministry as the cool waters cleanse me and refresh me. And He is present in all His glory in the sun setting over the bay and the full moon rising over the ocean.