The Light On the Water by Molly Wolf

You pursue light on water, but you don’t actually ever catch it; children learn that one very early. But at the shingle beach, the light seemed to stop, and so did I, and looked out at it. The glow of the water against the softness of the sky.

I’d gotten sadly cynical about love of late; I’d seen it bash itself like this water against the rocks, making no apparent difference, retreating in what looked like defeat. I’d seen how spirituality can become a way of evading one’s own real issues, how Godwardness can actually be a full-out flight from painful realities. And I’d retreated myself into the silence of…not unbelief or disbelief, but belief suspended in the chaos and pain. I had found myself retreating into a silence devoid of any whisper of God.

Yet here was a light on the water, no longer moving, still not reachable, but there. Just for a moment, I knew that, however little it looked that way to me, I too was standing in the same light. Just for a moment I knew that while I felt like a darkness absorbing the light, to God I was water reflecting in its glory.

The wind died down for a moment, and just for that moment, I felt all the warmth of the April sun. I thought how quiet God’s victories might be. Maybe for some, there’s the glorious knock-knock-you-off-the-donkey experience, but that’s never been my way; always for me, it’s not the rainbow but the groundwater quietly seeping up from sources I can’t begin to imagine.

I thought of the quiet sense of right that comes in the shrillness of wrong, of the painful, healing silence that enters when the shouting falters, exhausted, of the emptying-out that leaves you not lonely but peaceably alone.