Archive for July 23rd, 2021

Seaside Retreat
Fred Buchwitz

Who would have thought that sitting in a dentist’s chair would have been where God decided to speak clearly (though I am certain that many have called out to God from a dentist’s chair)?

I have sat in that chair, facing that painting for probably over twenty years. I have admired it while taking my seat in front of it (or was it in front of me?). I have yearned to be there, standing on that pathway bridge, taking in the waves crashing on shore, the eagle soaring out over the water, the light streaming down from beyond the clouds.

This day, as I walked into the room, I was only able to see one facet of the painting and I was in it.

Right there, standing on the smaller rock. On this rock, in the foreground, the waves crashing onto it and my feet. I could feel the icy cold of the water on my feet, ankles and lower legs. I could feel the cool air on my face. My back to the beach, I could see only the waves, the threat, as fear gripped me.

As I took my seat, chatted the same introductory conversation about work, children and the news of the day that we have had every six months for over twenty years, my mind’s attention was still in front of me. Finally, as our conversation was silenced by the work that needed to be accomplished, I could focus completely on my perilous situation, as the breakers crashed at my feet.

“you are not hopeless”

The words of a song I’d heard while driving to my appointment.

“I hear your SOS, your SOS”

More lyrics. Chill ran through me as the waves hit at me.

“you’re not defenseless”

As I sat there in the chair, my eyes continued to be focused on the painting … the painting that I had been somehow been transported into. Though I could no longer see the physical scene, for my position was now mostly fixed to the ceiling … to a place above and beyond my physical self. Now my inner gaze also drifted higher.

“I hear you whisper undernearth your breath
I hear you whisper you have nothing left”

In an instant my mind’s eye lifted from the waves, to the eagle, soaring effortlessly on the air thermals. To the light streaming down, those crepuscular sunbeams (sometimes called the “fingers of God”). The fear eliminated, dissolved.

“In the middle of the hardest fight, it’s true,
I will rescue you”

I was now standing above the water, on the other side of the cabin, facing the light pouring down from the clouds. I have no idea what the other side of the cabin looked like, for my back was to it, my face focused on the light.

The description of this painting, by Fred Buchwitz, writes:

“The morning sun bursts through the clouds, casting its warm glow in this remote
bay on the northwest coast. The crest of each wave is illuminated by the golden
rays of the sun. The crashing rhythm of the ocean and the cries of the gulls
provide the musical backdrop for this enchanted vista.”

“The crest of each wave is illuminated by the golden rays of the sun” … for me, that day, the threatening waves were illuminated by the reminder

that I,

that we,

have a rescuer,

a Saviour,

who will reach down and fight for us.


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