Sunday, October 4

The Tide and the Wave

“As I look at my own history of experiencing prayer, I find a constant movement of high and low tides, numerous ups and downs, mountains and valleys, emptying and filling, and always some brief resting phases. There have been periods when all I could do was allow struggle and sorrow onto my barren shore, lean on God in faith, and try to be true to my daily spiritual practice. In the mid
st of those long periods of spiritual drought, fleeting joy surprised me in the beauty of nature… and the kindness of people.”
…. Joyce Rupp’s writings in 'Prayer'

The tidal pattern of prayer is one of the most mysterious experiences of anyone who knows it. Looking at the tides, we all understand the cyclic nature of it: it comes deep into the shores and then it goes away. I love to visit…revisit the rocks and sands that the tides have left wet and clean. And then, in the sun it dries up only to be revisited by tides again. I ask the anglers and look for the time of the rising tides and the falling tides. They know it better than anyone on the shores does.

We have many prayer-lessons in the tides and waves. If we were to close our eyes and just listen to the sound of the waves beating the shores, we hear a rhythm in it. We hear the splash of water on the rocks or the shores. Then we hear the sound of the water retracting. Then there is a little rest, a beautiful lull, a momentary stillness when another wave is forming at a distance. It is this lull that breaks the noise and gives a moment of stillness to the waves. This is the alternating element in the wave story.

Our prayer life too needs lulls and brakes. Else, it would be too noisy … it would be a map without direction. Imagine a shore without tides and waves…How poor it will be!
Away from the beach and the waves, in the centre of our work… in the core of our living, there will always be moments of distractions and noises that make our prayer experience mundane and dull. We got to take them as little lulls in the life of a wave. Without these distractions and noises, we many well live life in superficiality. God is near to us in all these momentary lulls. We can slow down a bit in these lulls and just remain strong to meet the wave that is soon to come.