The order of things
The foghorn at the Mark Island Lighthouse sounds every 10 seconds, day and night, in good weather and bad, guiding boats to the entrance to the Deer Isle Thorofare. The unceasing but pleasing pulse also marks the time of my family’s vacation on the Maine coast each year.
We quickly settle in to a rhythm as we watch the ebb and flow of the tide in the rockweed-filled cove filled outside our door; feel the early morning diesel throb of the lobster boats in the harbor beyond, full-throttling from trap to trap; hear the cacophony of the gulls overhead, calling each other in their secret language; and view the rapturous sunsets that drop the curtain on the day and invite us into deep, dreamful sleep.
Here, both night and day, I experience numinous moments of calm and reflection, not because life suddenly becomes simple but because life falls gently back into order. My thoughts, my words, and my movements become mindful and purposeful. The constant hum of anxiety fades and allows the whispering voice of the divine to emerge within me.
For me, my family’s Maine vacation feels like a spiritual retreat this year as I am renewed in nature’s healing presence and grateful for the time away. But I will soon leave here, as I must and as it should be, returning again to home, work, and the pandemic, economic decline, racial strife, and election warfare. Such is the order of things: We move from orderliness to disorderliness, from calm to chaos, from retreat to reengagement. How could it be otherwise if we are to live full, spirit-centered lives?
Many believe the spiritual life is somehow separate from real life, as if the spiritual quest enables us to transcend the challenges of our everyday lives and the massive troubles of the world. No, the spiritual life must be grounded in dirt and grit of our lives and the world or it is merely avoidance and denial. The spiritual life is real life. Spirituality is not a cheap salve but daily salvation.
So we cycle through order and disorder, sometimes daily, clinging to neither and accepting each with gratitude. We need both quiet refuge and full engagement, returning to our deepest selves as we need and our greatest purpose as we must.
Photo: Deer Isle, Maine
Rev. David Horst offers one-to-one guidance and companionship to spiritual seekers of all faiths and walks of life. Click here to learn more.