I almost missed him. The waters were swirling around the rocky reef, the tidal pool deep and murky, its surface restless. I was looking for the kingfishers, who were not there. As I turned for home a gap opened in the waters of the pool, and there he was, the rock I dubbed “The Old Master”, at last! Not fully emerged, to be sure, but enough of him for me to recognise the rock that reminds me of an ancient abstract canvas.
I immediately wanted to touch it, to make sure it wasn’t an illusion. There was a channel of water, about a foot wide, similar depth. As I stepped forward and bent down, as if in angry defence of this rock, an aggressive surge of water rushed towards me. I wear *takkies to walk because my feet and ankles need support. Inside those takkies are rather expensive orthotics, so I am wary of getting them wet. Reluctantly I stepped back to avoid the wash.
I did the next best thing, and that was to take a couple of photographs. When I set out on that early morning walk, I had no intention of going up the beach. I was going to follow a road through the woods, down to the beach near where my house used to be, have a swim and home to finish The Book. As I crossed the dune, something drew me to the beach. Once there I realised the tide was on its way out, so there was firm sand to walk on.
The area where The Old Master lives is strewn with rocks of all shapes, sizes, colours. It is as though the reef couldn’t contain itself and spilled out over the beach, making rock pools and secret places for the crabs and coral fish. Each day it is a little different. Every high tide changes the landscape, closing some pools, opening others. This morning the sand around the rocks was smooth, reminding me of icing on a cake. It was a gentle hand that had moved the sand that early morning tide.
The boisterous eddying of water around The Old Master, some fifty metres away, was a jarring contrast. The anomaly intrigued me, and I sat on the sand, watching the antics of the waves, notebook and pencil at the ready. This is what I saw:
The Lord had led me to this sport this morning, so I could understand a profound truth. My journey these past months has been tough. I have a couple of dear friends who are battling in that dark place of the soul that none of us want to go to. I think this lesson is for all of us.
Even as we break free of the cords that bind us, the tides of opposition will swirl around and over us, trying to keep us trapped in isolated solitude. Another errant wave washed over The Old Master, hiding him from view, trying to cover him again with those sands of despair. The power of the Creator prevailed. The picturesque rock continued its ascent into visibility above the waters and the sodden sand, refusing to budge. The waters swirled impotently, their attempts pathetic, weakening, until at last they gave in to the draw of the moon, and subsided.
So too, I am like a rock, I too am Peter, founded on the bedrock of my Saviour’s love. As such I will prevail, I will see the light, and I will shine for all to see, reflecting my Master’s glory. That is our journey. The battle will go on until our time this side of eternity is over. The battle is simply the route to victory, to overcoming whatever impediments we might face that threaten to take us down.
Yesterday I finished writing my first novel. It was a strangely emotional time, and I found myself crying like a baby, sad, happy, relieved who knows why.
As I wrote last week, I sense an ending, and as with all endings there must be a new beginning. It has been a season, a wintry season of discovery and renewal. Through the sadness of irredeemable loss, has a come a quiet joy, a peace, a sense of purpose that beckons me onward.
The lesson of “The Old Master” is never give up. Remain rooted and grounded on your Bedrock, the waters of adversity will recede, grudgingly, and the sun will shine on you again.
*South African term for canvas exercise shoes