Monday, June 27, 2011

By: Jane

Jun 27 2011

Category: God


Focal Length:3.85mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:iPhone 4

11:00 A.M.
100th Street beach.

I’ve come to the shore by myself for a couple of days. Hopefully Steve will be able to join me for a day or so before it’s time to go home. It will be mid July before we get another opportunity.

It’s not a great beach day. Still, I’m happy to be sitting here, writing in the sea air, listening to the sound of the waves.

I’ve had a problem so far this summer, balancing productivity with leisure. I’m not happy without that balance, and so far I think I’ve spent too much time doing nothing and not enough time accomplishing. So, when I got up this morning I knew I didn’t want to spend the day sitting inside. I wanted to see the ocean, spend time with God, take a walk and clean up outside.

3 of those I could do at once, so I got in the car, came to the beach, walked for about 45 minutes and then sat down to read “Reflections on the Word” by Ken Gire. The first “devotional” is about creation and how the Spirit and the Word of God hovered over the emerging earth, and still do. The following are taken from “A Diary of Private Prayer” by John Baillie. (Poor guy…his private diary is part of a printed publication.)

“Creator Spirit, Who broodest everlastingly over the lands and waters of the earth,
enduing them with forms and colours which no human skill can copy, give me today, I beseech Thee,
the mind and heart to rejoice in Thy creation.”

How fitting that I am sitting here with the Atlantic Ocean at my feet, asking that my melancholy temperament be taught to rejoice.

“Forbid that I should walk through Thy beautiful world with unseeing eyes.
Forbid that the lure of the marketplace should ever entirely steal my heart
away from the love of open spaces and the green trees.”

And the ocean, I might add. On my walk I was thinking how I’ve changed as I’ve gotten older. The shops, the boardwalk and attractions here used to hold great allure for me. It’s not that I no longer find them interesting, but they’re just a diversion these days. I’m coming to the realization that there’s very little I need, and I don’t feel compelled to spend time in the shops the way I feel compelled to walk along the beach.

“Forbid that under the low roof of workshop or office or study” [or classroom] “I should ever forget
Thy great overarching sky.
Forbid that when all Thy creatures are greeting the morning with songs and shouts of joy, I alone
should wear a dull and sullen face.”

I love sitting on the front porch early in the morning with my coffee and english muffin. The birds are all singing their songs of joy, but other than that, no one else is around, and it’s quiet and peaceful.

“Let the energy and vigour which in Thy wisdom Thou hast infused into every living thing stir
today within my being, that I may not be among Thy creatures as a sluggard and a drone.”

Ah. There it is. My prayer for balance, for the ability to be self-directed, self-motivated and productive, not falling into complete idleness just because I don’t know where to start.

“And above all, give me grace to use these beauties of earth without me, and this eager
stirring of life within me as a means whereby my soul may rise from creature to Creator, and
from nature to nature’s God.”

I wonder who John Baillie was, and just how old this prayer is. The language is certainly from another time, but it’s striking how current the thoughts are, and how I can identify with what he says. It’s practically a poem.

Good for the soul. :0)


5 comments on “Monday, June 27, 2011”

  1. Jane, what you wrote today spoke to me…I have the same problem with melancholy, not knowing where to start, therefore not accomplishing much…John Baillie…I believe is from Scotland. I can’t remember for sure, but my sister and husband MAY have met him…long ago…I’ll have to check with her to see if I’m remembering that correctly. Enjoy your time on the beach with the Lord..may you be blessed abundantly.

    • Thank you Diann! Wow…his writing sounds much older than someone that your sister could have met…I was thinking 1700’s or something. Maybe he writes that way on purpose. I liked what he wrote, though, and no matter when he wrote it…I get it!
      It’s frustrating sometimes….we feel like we need to be productive, all the time, every day, and because of that I just can’t rest if I’m not. (Which is often.) Even today, I couldn’t find the scrub brushes to clean the deck floor, didn’t get any kind of “work” done, and flle like “a sluggard” as John Baillie puts it. Tomorrow is another day, though. Balance, Lord, that’s all I’m after. :0)

  2. Hi again, Jane. I just spoke with my sister. She said that her husband, a retired pastor, read all of Dr. Baillie’s books; that’s why he wanted to go to the University of Edinborough to study under him! Unfortunately, Dr. B. died right after they got there, in 1961, and they actually went to his funeral. She audited a class taught by a Dr. James Stewart (not the actor 😉 ), and she loved him! She said nothing in the world would have kept her away from his classes. Interesting!

    Just thought you might want to know this.

    Love & blessings,


    • Just from this one passage I can see why he read all of his books and wanted to study with him. I’ll have to look him up and see what I can get ahold of that he wrote. I wonder if the quote really was from his private diary of prayers? Maybe I’d better burn all of my journals……:0)

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