Here in Florida we can look down upon the spot where Eastern Lake, a fresh-water coastal dune lake, meets the Gulf of Mexico. The waters intermingle and create a marvelous and rare ecosystem, filled with plant and animal life that seems to thrive on this shifting balance and imbalance of Nature. We’re told that the fish who swim these waters have to be hardy and resilient in order to survive, as they’ve done for thousands of years.
I see this as a parable. The Gulf is the sea water that covers the earth with its vast reach and boundless flow; the lake is a body of brackish water that spans acres rather than miles. The Gulf is the immeasurable realm of the Spirit; the lake is our limited and tainted life on this planet. And we are at the point where they meet.
What happens to us in this meeting of the waters? We hear the call of the ocean and we long to move in that direction, but we also realize our limitations, many of them self-imposed, and we settle for the safety of the small rather than risk a step toward the breakers. I wonder if this is what St. Paul meant is his letter to the Romans, when he wrote, “I have a desire to do what is right, but I cannot carry it out. I keep doing what is wrong. What a wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me?” And he then comes to the consoling conclusion that only God can do that.
I’ll write a lot more about this in the days and months ahead. It seems to describe my quest, especially as I try to live a life that pleases God and also makes a difference in my circle of family, friends, and community.