On the ocean in an open kayak,
coming in through surf
is asking for trouble.
I batten down, time my entry,
paddle like I’m on fire,
and watch behind for the inevitable:
the wave bearing down, breaking,
swallowing me. I’m dumped.
And I still have to get back up the river.

You can stand on the shore and admire the grace of God—
but in it, swept over by that infinite sea of forgiveness,
you get tumbled. Things are upside down for a bit.
You treasure your breath.
You think of what you hang onto, what you let go of.
Sometimes you lose things.
Everything is washed, rinsed out.
Then you have to drag your boat—it’s awkward—
empty it out, start anew.

Sometimes the love of God so capsizes you
the ocean could be your own tears,
and you find yourself having to tell onlookers,
“It’s OK. Really. I’m fine.”

Sometimes the mercy of God upends you
and you go home humbled, grateful, overjoyed,
wet as a newborn
born again.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light
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