Serenity and the Abyss


Lynn Canyon Falls seen from Suspension Bridge
Staring out in the Pacific today, looking at the innumerable waves crashing up on the shore, it is hard to imagine a more accessible representation of oblivion. Stretching out thousands of miles a merciless and pitiless sea wages an eons old war upon the shores that encroach upon its domain. It's tranquil appearance belying a malice and hostility to life that is found merely in its vastness. For upon those waves, in those chilling depths, no sustenance may be found. This is man's greatest fear, one might suppose. For in the sea, one looks upon his eternity. A place where memories dissolve. The slow loss of oneself into the chaos that surrounds him. Is this not what death looks like? And for all of that, it is profoundly peaceful. Sitting on granite that the sign says is around a 190 million years old, and it will lose its war. Even now, salt, ice, and water assault its very existence on that shore; it will fail. How true the Psalmist proclaims the fragility of our finitude. We are as the grass and in that we have but a season (Psalm 37:2). Paul's answer to us is that we must grasp what is infinite (2 Corinthians 4). But Paul offers a hope that seems beyond grasp at times, looking out into darkness. I walked through red cedars today over a 1000 years old while my uncle fought for his life in a sterile hospital gurney.