It was the sea

It was the sea,
salt and water,
the press of the tide
and the undertow;
the frightening mystery
of jellyfish; the shells,
whitewashed tombs
yet evidence of enduring

I remember once
we went out
in a rubber dinghy,
daring the waves to drown us,
and they did.
Beneath the boat,
I held my breath,
let the currents
fight one another
for me.

The church looked like
an upturned boat;
I could count the rowers’
benches stretching
toward the Host upheld
just out of reach

When the tide went out,
mudflats emerged,
full of seagulls,
silt sucking at ankles and thighs;
as often as I entered the ocean
to wash my feet
I found myself once again
stuck in the mud.

If I could have stayed
with the sea, salt
drying on my hair …

I am participating in a 20-day Evangelism Challenge designed by the Revd Dr Patricia Lyons for and with the Diocese of Ohio (although I don’t promise to post every day!). Today’s prompt for drawing closer to God: Who introduced you to (a relationship) with the person of Jesus Christ, and how? 
Sign up for more prompts at

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing , and Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, both from Upper Room Books. She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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