An Unconventional Sanctuary

One beautiful thing about Sundays, lately, has been my option NOT to serve a sentence of mandatory attendance at church in a building.  Even King James discerned and declared:

” The God who made the world and all things therein, the Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands.” (Acts 17:24)

The day was simply too beautiful to feel obligated to put on “Sunday’s best” clothing and a face to impress people, before entering a dark room where the presentation had been well polished before public display.  Not to discount the value of well thought out and skillfully performed theater, but today was simply too beautiful outside to go into a confined space where an agenda was already in place.

Ocean breezes and a pleasant 75 degree morning called me to strap an unabashedly, hot-pink kyack and neon green paddle atop my Sportage, and head north along the Atlantic coastline.  I’d heard about Thousand Islands Conservation area in Cocoa Beach, Florida and there seemed no better time to finally discover it for myself, before motor boats and an afternoon crowd “put in”.  A few early morning visitors had arrived ahead of me, but there was little competition for the boat ramp as I off-loaded and stepped into the cool waters.

There is something calming about glistening waters and seeing the confluence of tributaries as they flow in from open waterways, before diverging into “water trails” among clusters of Mangrove trees.  Blue heron, white ibis, osprey, and an occasional pelican rose gracefully out of coves, soaring above the tentacles of vegetation finding their root in the shallows. Unseen fish sent bubbles to the surface of the sparkling blue undulations, as  intermittent circles from manatee snouts stirred the surface of calmer inlets.  Two stand-up-paddle-boarders leisurely “strolled” by as a friendly “cow” could be seen following their course.

A small group of kyackers on the horizon could be heard talking before their faces became visible, and good morning greetings were exchanged. Another, approaching from behind, offered to navigate me through a maze of mangrove, since I didn’t have a map or GPS device in my possession.  (I’d been told there were many knowledgeable and helpful souls out on the waters in this particular area, so I’d taken measures to prevent a new phone from going overboard by leaving it in the car.)  When the conversation turned to politics and the pending transfer of presidential power, I had to laugh and say “not a good topic when there’s no quick way to make an exit if we disagree……I’d rather relish the peacefulness and beauty of this place, here and now.”  Thankfully, there was a consensus of opinion in the conversation that followed, and it became apparent I wasn’t the only refugee seeking solace after a disturbing electoral process.  I made it clear my goal was to assist in “defusing” tensions, and pray for peaceful resolutions.

By the time I  arrived back at the dock where I’d launched, several motor boats were occupying the bigger ramp.  A family at a smaller ramp was securing life-preservers to youngsters, before setting off on their afternoon adventures.  I was thankful for the “lesser” company of the few who were lifting their vessels out of the water, while I strapped my own to its padded rack.  Maybe forever, I will prefer going alone or with a smaller “crowd”.  Next, I may be training for choppier waters, since transfers of power can be bumpy; but for today, here and now, I’m happy to have sought out the kind of sanctuary that restores my soul in a way no sermon from a pulpit ever will.




1 thought on “An Unconventional Sanctuary

  1. Rick Hammontree

    Loved this, sis. I agree: I like to get outside to “God’s temple” – the great outdoors! I do enjoy our church, but when it’s beautiful out, that calls me… ❤

    Happy Holidays, Karen!

    (kayak) 😉


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