We had been driving along the coast for miles, in search of the perfect view. Washington State has a lot of beautiful coastline, but so far we had seen mostly mud littered with boats. The tide must have been at an all time low. Just when we had gone about as far as you can go without crossing the border into Canada, we stumbled upon a huge viewer's deck overlooking a bay behind an exclusive resort. There were no fences or fees, so we stopped and climbed out to survey the scene. Little did we know that the treasures awaiting us would be below, not beyond the deck.
A floating dock skirted the deck, it's steep ramp nearly pitching us forward into the bay. We found the shadows below the viewing deck pungent and fishy. It took only a moment to figure out why. Rows of solid wood columns had been anchored into the ocean floor, supporting the deck above. Clinging to each log above the waterline were dozens and dozens of sea creatures - brown sea anemone, folded closed for lack of moisture; bright purple and pink starfish, each stretching a foot in diameter; mussels, clamped shut. Just under the surface hairy anemones floated and swayed in the current. Nearly transparent jellyfish pulsed past, freeform. I can't say that it was beautiful, but for someone who grew up in a landlocked state, this quick stop was proving to be quite an education! Because of the unusually low tide, we were getting a rare glimpse of the ocean's hidden life.
Why do I bother retelling this odd experience? As we explored that day, I was reminded of my own inner searching these past months. Being at low tide emotionally and spiritually has not been fun. The odors of selfishness and impatience have often been dominant; "dying to self" does not smell (or feel!) nice. Parts of my personality that used to be vibrant have folded in upon themselves for lack of water. Gifts and skills once fully functional have clamped shut, ill-suited for life on land. But despite these 'losses', I've received blessings that rarely come at 'high tide'. Unexplored areas of my soul have been exposed. I am less self-confident, but freer. Rather than fearing what lies hidden within myself or others, I have found a new contentment, knowing that whatever is discovered there is not beyond His ability to transform into something beautiful.
I do not understand my own soul fully. I cannot pretend to have seen everything that lies beneath the surface. But I know He is there, healing and loving me. And that is making all the difference.