I Once Had Church With A Seashell Banana Man

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
— Matthew 8:36

It's a beautiful day here and the light is spilling down the windowsill and onto the floor around me, all golden and dappled. There's just the slightest breeze ruffling the oak trees out there now, but earlier this morning, the water was moving pretty quick and the current was picking up the dusting of sunlight and reflecting it like a perfect diamond.  I never get tired of that. Never.  The geese are beginning to migrate again, flying low over the water.  

Pausing for awhile, I think of a day a lot like this back in June.  The air was more humid but the light was just the same. Sparkly.  I had the added benefit of listening to the thunder of waves out where I was sitting alone, drinking coffee on the patio of the little beach house I had rented, and instead of geese, I was watching wild turkeys picking bugs out of the grass in front of me and the little Hawaiian cardinals who were daring to come close enough to see if I had remembered to bring a slice of bread with me. I had.

It was before six am and above my head I heard a voice say softly... "Beautiful, isn't it?"  I looked up and over my right shoulder and nodded with a smile.  "Want some bananas?" he offered.  A couple of the gardeners were riding around in their little golf cart, having picked some fresh fruit off the trees that morning and he and his wife had more than they could eat by themselves.  I turned so that I was facing him and I don't remember what we chatted about.. only that I enjoyed it very much.  I remember how good the warm tiles felt on my bare feet, how he came out every morning and sat up there on the second floor in just a pair of khaki shorts and a hat, how he was surrounded by seashells on all the surfaces I could see, lined up in rows, glued to a piece of driftwood hanging on the wall, shining on the table.  To me, it seemed like he was surrounded by treasure.  I would find out later that morning that he really was.  He had spent the better part of forty years combing the sands of those Molokai beaches, collecting shells... some of them no bigger than the head of a quilting pin, some of them great big masterpieces of intricate design.  Here was a man who understood the glory of the smallest things as easily as he did the larger ones... just like I do.  He made a bracelet out of some of the tiny ones for me to give to my friend for her birthday.  I find myself wishing a lot that I had asked for one for me too.:) Maybe next time.  I look so forward to next time...

People move in and out of our lives all the time.  Sometimes they linger.  Sometimes they share our space in the universe for only a short time, or they come, and then they go, and then come back again...like the ebb and flow of the tide.  But I have found that each person who touches me, and who I am able to touch... leaves something precious behind in their wake.  I used to think of it like a big streambed where I could pick up rocks worn smooth by time and tumbling.  But anymore these days, I think of it more like it feels when I'm walking the beaches I love. Sometimes, like my friend, I'm laying down on the sand, sifting... searching for the tiniest shells and it seems like it's taking forever to find enough to even cover the bottom of my little collection jar.  Other times, I'm picking up the magnificent big ones - the kind where you hold them up to your ear and hear what the ocean must have sounded like a hundred years ago.  Funny, it sounds a lot like it does today.  

Later that day, we went down to the beach and staked out our little spot on the sand, neatly laying out our towels, making a seat with a back rest and a big ol' hole for my rear end.  I sat my bag beside me, plopped myself down in the hole, settled my sunglasses on my head, closing my eyes with a sigh, feeling content.  The next thing I knew, I was underwater, doused in sea and sand, along with everything beside me.  I came up sputtering, watching my belongings get sucked into the ocean as I scrambled after them looking like the Abominable Sandman.  The folks behind me were valiantly trying not to laugh but gave up when I dropped in the sand with all my soggy belongings and rolled over and grinned at them.  Life is messy.  Sometimes you just gotta roll with it.  Oh, and it's wise to make sure you've left enough room between you and the thing that is bigger than you, so that The Great Thing That is Bigger than you, knows you respect it.:)

Some of you think you've never set foot in a church before and maybe never would.  Some of you think you don't have a clue how to talk to God. Might I gently suggest that perhaps you have, perhaps you do? Maybe you've laughed with Him high on a mountain, or got soaked by Him with a subsequent seaweed mud bath. Maybe you heard Him in the whisper of a seashell or felt Him in a tiny layer of pink shells in a bracelet. Maybe He touched your cheek at dawn or scattered diamonds in front of you or spilled onto the floor by your window.  

He might have even offered you some bananas.

I have some different ideas about God lately.  They've evolved a lot for reasons I might share here... someday. Blogging is such an interesting form of communication.  For some, it's an account of all the wonderful things they see and do.  That reminds me of all I have to be thankful for and those blogs are some of my favorites. For others, it's about instruction in things we are interested in.  Those blogs expand my mind and attempt to make me smarter.:)  My purpose for blogging though, and truly any writing that I do... has always been to remind myself and anyone else who may stumble through the door of my heart, that we are not just body and mind... but also spirit and soul.  It is that part of us, that we often ignore, to our detriment.

That beautiful day I shared with you, I had church with a seashell banana man.:)  This morning, I had church with some light spilling in my windows and a less than conventional preacher on the internet, who reminded me that God loves messy people just like me.  And ALL are welcome.