It was still dark when Gaff got to his spot on the beach. He pulled his wagon down on the sand and put out his chair in time to see the spectacle that marked the boundary between night and day: the sunrise. First, there was a finger of gold making its way onto the horizon from somewhere on the other side of the planet. More fingers joined the first, encroaching farther along the horizon and up. It was as if the sun were pulling herself into the morning sky with those fiery fingers. Then there was the sun itself. As the brilliant golden orb rose up over the clouds on the horizon, he talked to Mother Water.
“Mother, I can see that more and more people are beginning to understand their connection with the planet and the need to heal it, to give back to you. I only wonder if we’re not too late. I worry when I hear about oil gushing into our source of food and toxic fumes billowing into the air that sustains us. I worry when I read about the pollution of our water supplies and chemical pollution of our bodies. I worry. But then, I also have faith that you will show us how to heal you and through you, to heal ourselves.”
He pulled the pirate flag from the wagon and unfurled it. It started a gentle flapping in the light breeze even as he planted it in the sand near his chair. He turned back to the sunrise. “Like the gargoyles, this skull and crossed leg bones is a symbol of protection. Protection from what, Mother Water? I’m beginning to think we need protection from ourselves more than from any other threat on the planet in the Universe. WE are the threat.
“While people argue about what is real or unreal, they miss the point of all of this, don’t they? I awoke this morning feeling that I was a part of something huge, something more than my body or my life or even this planet. What is real is the loving energy of this Universe that supports us all. At least, that’s what feels real to me.
“I used to see the importance of every human being on this beach and his relationship to my path, but now I see something more. I see the gift of the sunrise as an expression of your love for us. The clouds, the waves, the sand, the shells… all gifts and a part of you that we can love. And yet, they are also a part of us. I only hope to do my part in encouraging people to come out of their small neighborhoods into the love of the greater metropolitan cosmos. It is there for all of us-pulling us to it, to you.”
The old fisherman of Kure Beach sat for a time, absorbed in the beauty of the moment. Still watching, he stood to walk to the waves lapping gently on the sand. He put his bare feet into the water with the same reverence due a baptismal font.
“I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.” These words from his days in the church skipped through his mind like the refrain to a familiar song as he bathed in the water of Mother Earth. The refrain continued as he bathed in the beauty of the sun rising over the clouds on the horizon. The clouds looked like trees on a piece of land somewhere far out in the ocean. Is that what all this is? An illusion of reality that allows us to demonstrate the love that heals? An illusion like those clouds that look like land? The healing of love like the golden rays of the sun that covers those clouds, eventually creating enough heat to make them disappear?
“There is substance to this life and the people in it. It is important because it enables us to practice healing the mind, the body, and the spirit as we know the author of A Course in Miracles has done. This life and the people in it are serious and they are real because they are love. Yet they are not eternal. The trick is to believe in the truth of the eternality of Universal Love and of our spirits and to treat everyone you meet with the respect due your long-time friend. At the same time, to realize that these bodies may be temporary, but they are important as the physical vehicles that allow us to learn about the power of love. Learn by doing.”
He shook his head. “Such heavy thoughts this morning, Gaff! This beach… this is more inspiring than any church I’ve attended. Mother Water, you have provided me with more answers than any book I’ve read. And you’ve washed away more of my ills than any holy water in the church ever did. And yet the church is where I started and so I love it for what it offers.”
Then he looked quickly up to the still-dark sky behind him. “I’m not discouraging anyone from attending church, You understand. Not if that’s what You want for them. I’m just saying that this beach is my church and I spend my days communicating with You, God. I thank you for all the blessings you have brought to me on this beach and everywhere in my life. I accept your guidance in all things. ‘Thy will be done’ and I know that thy will is for me to be filled with joy.”
Then he returned his gaze to the streaks of gold coloring the sky over the ocean. He shook his head in the awe of it all. He felt the love that surrounded him, that healed him, that gave him the strength to meet the challenges of each day. This is real: this is LOVE.
*Lorena Peter, Ph.D., writes entertaining mysteries, romances and wisdom books. All have strong spiritual underpinnings and paranormal elements. She blends a medical intuition and healing practice (and travel) with her writing. For more information go to WWW.LORENAPETER.COM. There you will see photographs of locations discussed in Gaff as well as a chapter for your perusal. You may contact her on Facebook. For her understanding of the Course, she thanks Carmen Cameron and the class in Louisville, KY.