Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Alone on the Beach

It was a brisk and somewhat chilly morning when I went out for a stroll this morning on the boardwalk. The sky was overcast, the waves, choppy, my soul, yearning.

It's not yet really winter here...heck it is in the 50s this morning. So, I went for a walk over to the Ocean Grove Pier. On the way back to my apartment, there were two Canada Geese that went zooming over my head. The geese hang around Asbury Park almost all of the year so it's not too surprising to see them here in December. They are usually in really plentiful gaggles though. This pair was really boogieing as they flew towards the AP Convention Hall. I figured they had become separated from their flock and were racing to find their feathered companions.

It was really interesting though when I walked on the other side of the hall. I heard this lone gander loudly honking. I looked onto the beach to see this rather large bird standing in the sand by himself. Alone. I wondered if he was pleading for companionship. I pondered if he was one of the pair that I'd seen airborne a few minutes before. I felt sad for him. Had he been left behind, deserted? Canada goose family units are quite strong. Why was this bird alone? Why is anyone or anything ever alone of their own choosing?

Then, I looked over my left shoulder back towards the road when I then saw a large gaggle of geese feeding in the tall grass between the road and the beach. How odd. Why is this single male standing and honking all by himself when there's a gaggle of his breed less than 30 yards away?

I thought to myself. Isn't that how life is sometimes. We stand isolated for one reason or another when we are not so far from loved ones or hopeful opportunities. We race to get to a place with someone and wind up separated anyway. We cry (honk) out for help when the companions we need are not so far away at all. God is never that far away or at least that's the essence of our faith.

Here in Advent, I find myself restlessly pondering God's presence once more. I struggle with Winter's approach. My soul desires to cry out for companionship, reassurance, concrete answers. I listen for God nearby the ocean's tides and wispy breezes. I want Christ and the Church to come and rescue me rather than continue my search. I don't take the necessary time that it takes to gaze upon the whole landscape of my life to observe all that is thankfully taking place in nearby and unseen ways.

The extraordinary moment of Christ's birth isn't here yet even as extraordinary moments are taking place right now... Watching, wandering, and sometimes wallowing... onward into Advent we go - not necessarily or ever alone.

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