This was a big year for me.
I graduated from the Epiphany Academy of Formative Spirituality. My wife completed a rigorous year of her master’s work. And we somehow managed to keep raising a confident (though not altogether sane) 3 year old girl 🙂
It all culminated as I reflected at Palm Beach. Actually I reflected as I lay on the wave line where the beach and the ocean constantly joust. It was a spiritual moment. Who knows what the other beach goers thought about this crazy beached man. Eyes closed, on my back, sprawled, I lay my head on the wet sand. CRASH! The wave came over my body. The water ran away again. CRASH! Another round. Ever try this? It can evoke real fear. You never know when or how intense the wave will hit. It was to me it was a grand metaphor of my year. Taking the brunt of the ocean’s rage, the waves and sand worked together to slowly swallow my body into the earth. It was a cruciform epiphany. All along, I cringed over the next wrathful wave to crash.
Over the course of a half hour, I slowly learned to enjoy myself. The waves crashed just as hard, but I began to find joy in the power of the earth and its waters crashing over my legs on my torso and over my shoulders. A peace and then an abandonment grew in me among the lily foam.
It was an abandonment hard won over 12 months. An abandonment that helped me lead a group of students to San Diego then Cincinnati for a conference that would thrust us into modern abolition and local justice work. It was an abandonment that gave me confidence among 13,000 Biblical Scholars in New Orleans. It was abandonment that encouraged me to apply to PhD even so (I was accepted to 1 of 8 schools that I applied). It was abandonment that got me through the seminars I directed for 100 pastors in post-January Haiti. It was abandonment that I learned so acutely about in Pittsburgh finishing Epiphany. And it was the abandonment among the Florida crest that reminded me to cast my cares to the One who holds us when the pounding waves of adventure, community brokenness, disappointment, and triumph swallow us into the ground.