• Mona

Surrounded by Life



Oak Bay, Victoria, BC


Too many things were overwhelming me so I decided to take a week off from thinking. My priest once told me as a remedy to “Gaze upon the Lord” so I dedicated a whole week to do just that. I would engage in the basics of living but any troubling dilemmas I would put in the ‘hold pile’ for one week.

Having already put 800 km on my mobility scooter in six months, going for long excursions was not unusual. Today I found myself at the beach.

There is this great little secluded lookout 500 m past a popular beach walk. There are little paths on the left and right of a flat substation of underground pipes or something. Perfect for my scooter and I to survey the seascape.

It was a brilliant day. A perfect cerulean sky overhead, an ocean of glass reflecting anything on its surface. To my right in a small cove was a marina with dozens of moored sailboats. Well beyond that was a posh hotel to match. There were twelve mini sailboats sandwiched between two zodiacs, a sailing school. Beach revelers were on the left around the corner with the odd child playing at the water edge and dog romping. Behind me were beachfront properties with private yards and stately fences. Peeking flowers and magnificent trees hinted at manicured privacy.

On the horizon jetting out of the sea was the majestic Mt. Baker wearing a fitted white sweater. And past that was the faint outline of the Olympic Mountains.

I sat on my scooter taking in the sights, sounds and smell. My mind wanted to wander back to my dilemmas but I kept bringing it back to the moment, challenging myself to look for God in the images in front of me. Just then the sound of vibration caught my attention and I turned behind me to see a hummer pausing at several blooms in pursuit of nectar. That moved my attention to the birds, the sea birds on the low tide rocks and sand. There were geese, seagulls, and sandpipers. I watched sandpipers stick their knitting needles in wet sand. Geese floated in a sequence. There was a definite leader leading an orderly platoon. They crossed by right in front of me. The seagulls had a rivalry game going. Three on a log and a fourth would boost one off to take his spot. That one would fly off and boost another to join in different grouping. And so it went until by some unseen whistle they all took flight, circling and culling as they departed in one big mass of seeming confusion.

Then it occurred to me what was unfolding in front of me was life itself. The sailing class bunched up and spread out, following in a line behind the zodiac. One boat’s mast was broken so was being towed. He was always last to join in the formation. The would-be sailor with sunglasses was talking with his hands to the zodiac. I wondered how he felt about his disabled vessel. Embarrassed, humiliated, humored, mad?

It got me thinking about all the individual personalities and what drove them, inspired them. Every student sailor had a reason for being there. Every boat in the marina had a story, a family, and a livelihood to go with it. Same goes for the posh hotel on the hill. The employees and the patrons. The kids and the dogs I could hear but not see. The quiet couples hidden in the pockets of tall grasses below my look out.

It boiled down to one life force: God. I’m always amazed when weeds push up through blacktop. The life force is that strong. The same life force present and everything I was witnessing.

The sea birds and songbirds. The trees and the flowers. Spirit coursing through all the veins of life. In early spring I always marveled at leafless brush and its red tinge indicating the juice starting to flow after a dormant winter.

Then I decided to play a game. See how many levels of life I could imagine starting with people. Kids, parents, youth, couples, girlfriends, lovers, aged. Dogs - large small, serious, funny, happy, spotted, solid. Birds – clever, sweet, vocal, messy, preening. Plants – trees, shrubs, flowers, grasses, weeds, grass. Insects – bees, dragon flys, sand flies, crawling flying, wriggling bugs. The sea and all that is beneath it. The mountains, the forests, and all the life they house. The mountains themselves. The rock formations. The majestic Mount Baker and the massive shifts that created our continents and land masses. And then become boulders become rock become sand.

I must’ve sat there an hour dissecting the scene. The immensity of it all. With one force, one God behind it all. When the pandemic or my own MS pressing issues came to mind, they didn’t overwhelm like they did a day ago. If we have a Creator who created all of this then he can surely handle the other distresses threatening us, if we would but believe.

It’s been nearly two weeks since that day at the beach and I’m still carrying those thoughts and images in my mind and heart. They’re soothing and warming. Many of the grueling self-debates went away and are replaced with gentle nudges that bubbled up without grinding it.

So once again, when things get overwhelming and I don’t know what to do, I just need to stop, surround myself with life and 'gaze upon the Lord'.

And be amazed at how answers come to me and not the other way around.

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