I wanted to explain little further what I meant in the previous blog post. Thought that a story might be the best way to express it. It is not meant to offend or poke fun at anyone, and if you think you've heard it before, keep reading...
One day a young man was walking along the beach with the Lord. They walked for many miles, through surf, rocks, and populated swimming areas. Eventually the young man stopped and turned around.
He said, "Lord, back there? There. Right before the bend. I only see one set of footprints. I was having a really tough time. Where were you? Why did you leave me all alone?"
And the Lord said, "I really wanted a hot dog."
The Lord seemed unusually contrite. "Sorry, I'll pay better attention next time."
The pair kept walking. They saw many marvelous things. Leaping dolphins, fantastical shells, vast panoramic vistas.
Then the Lord abruptly veered away.
"Lord, where are you going?" the young man asked. "I thought you were going to stick around this time."
"Don't you see that beach volleyball game over there?"
"Yeah. The one with all the girls in bikinis." The young man was not amused.
"I've got to join in! Just for a little while. I'll catch up with you later, okay?" The Lord was off and running.
"Okay, have fun." By this point, the young man's feet were covered in blisters. He had a sunburn, mosquito bites, and a jellyfish sting. He didn't remember why he had let the Lord convince him to come out on this beach walk in the first place. They were hours from the car. Stuff like this always happened around the Lord! At least this time, they hadn't gotten arrested.
The young man sat down. He didn't see how he could go on any further. He let the tide wash up against his feet. He let the wet sand ooze between his fingers. He breathed in deeply. As the waves washed back and forth, he started to cry.
Soon enough, the tears stopped. The young man found a spot a few feet away from the tide line and got to work. With a broken piece of shell and his fingers, he dug a moat. Next he built up towers of sand, began decorating with mud spatters, small pebbles, and and seaweed. He was having fun now and soon lost all track of time.
Eventually, the Lord came back. "What are you doing?" he asked the young man.
"I'm building a castle in the sand," he replied.
"But you know it's going to wash away within hours -- completely impermanent. No one but you and a few stray passers by will ever know it was here," the Lord cautioned.
"Yes, I know that. But it's okay. I'm enjoying myself. It feels good to create. In the long run, nothing we do is very permanent. It's all ephemeral. Ebb and flow, wind, water, and tide," said the young man.
"Don't go getting all Buddhist on me!" The Lord seemed alarmed.
"You were gone for a long time."
"I know. What can I say? It's in my nature." The Lord was quiet and thoughtful for some time.
Then, a thought occurred to him. "How can I help? There's a store at the top of the boardwalk. Do you want me to get you a shovel and a pail? Maybe a cooler of beer?"
The young man smiled to himself and kept building. The spires were four and five feet high now, and the moat was filling up of its own accord.
"No thanks. Just stay close, if you possibly can."
On Prayer As a Spiritual Discipline
1 day ago