A thread unravels from the edges of her old shirt in the dryer and winds tightly around the cuff of a stray sock, collecting bits of lint like a magnet. Cupping it in her hands, she decides it looks more like a ball of yarn she accidentally threw in the dryer than a sock; an apt metaphor for her life.
Lately, she is a tangled collection of incomplete thoughts, unfinished sentences and curious questions that threaten to strangle her inner voice. While her family sleeps, she grasps the purse dangling from a hook in the kitchen, tosses the sock on top of the laundry heap and drives five minutes to the beach. A brisk walk along the sea sorts out the knots.
The morning landscape on shore gives hints of the unseen battlefield raging in the dark waters beneath, like the ebb and flow of pieces of her life floating to the surface.
Starfish scatter among stray shells, arms curling toward the sun. As she steps over skeletal remains, her heart reaches to the Light too, like a woman longs for the sign of her lover’s return on the horizon, the warmth of his familiar embrace.
But today He seems distant. She writes letters in her thoughts; a series of questions pervading hallowed space, knowing His answers may be prolonged. And she resolves herself to it.
She admits: I don’t know how to parent teenagers; the landscape of their lives is different today than it was even last week. And why do I feel like I’m losing my voice? The cadence that sings of you in lyrical melodies now hums shallow, void of eloquence. I fear you’ve left me standing alone on the shore without a life boat. How long until you return?
He answers: You must first lose your life to find it. Sometimes that means dying to your familiar voice and the way you’ve come to know yourself as a mother. You must die to who you think you are in order to find yourself in me.
Surprised by the swiftness of His voice, she grieves her own forgetfulness about the simple petals of truth opened in the glory days of her youth. Her legs wilt at the base of the groin, knees press into wet sand, and her head bows over the rugged sea swept altar as petulant waves pop like champagne corks randomly unleashed.
Bending over, she surrenders herself to Him again.
And their conversation continues as she continues walking.
He asks her a question: What would you do if perception (the perceptions of others) weren’t a consideration in your life? Can you trust my love for you isn’t dependent on what you do because I love you for who you are?
Freedom. It’s the only word bubbling to the surface through the mental knots. She will be free to be herself, she thinks.
Pondering these things in her heart, she drives back with the windows down, a warm breeze blowing hair in her face. The house is still and quiet when re-entering through the kitchen.
Closing her eyes to think before writing out her thoughts, she remembers the starfish. A curious unrelenting nudge to excavate the meaning of the sea creature fills her mental space. Now, go look it up now, she feels herself think.
Tears drip down her cheeks when she reads that the starfish can represent guidance and direction. It is a symbol of love, intuition, and vigilance. The starfish is also able to grow limbs back that are damaged from the environment or predators. Because of this, the starfish is a symbol of rebirth and healing. The starfish represents positive change and salvation through trying times.
The sharp edges of Truth cut her free from the tangled knots of her thinking so she can hope again.
She was wrong.
He wasn’t silent, but loving her all along, from the first moment she stepped on shore, over the starfish.
And her voice returns as she strokes the keyboard with abandon.
A repost from July 2013. I’ve taken several walks on the beach this week with family as we celebrate my daughter’s high school graduation. And starfish seem to be scattered among us, a reminder that His love and promises are steadfast. His truth is unchanging in the midst of changing circumstances. He may be silent but He is never still. He is loving you all along.