Cellular Conchs

Author:  Rachelle Rieke
Sometimes hearing God seems like listening to the ocean through a conch shell. There is a vague roar that maybe-sort-of resembles the crash of the ocean, but you can’t see it. It doesn’t wet your skin; it doesn’t taste of salt on your lips; you can’t smell the brine, the fishy tang of ocean life. It’s nothing more than a call. A long-distance connection. And yet, it is a yearning invitation to taste and see, a reminder of possibility.
Do you hear the roar? 
Last November Colin and I took a vacation to the Cayman Islands. On the first morning, rousing with the rooster’s ehr ehr errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, I got up early and headed down to the beach with a towel and cup of coffee in hand. I had the sand, surf, and sun to myself for an hour or more, and I marveled at how comfortable I was in just a bathing suit so early in the morning. The warmth of the air was like being suspended in a dream that I didn’t wake up from when I stepped out the door. No cold slap of reality like opening the door on a Minnesota morning in November. This was my reality for the next week.
I breathed deep, more than content to remain in the dream, and surveyed the rows of white lounge chairs lined up like shoals against the sea. I selected one, spread out my towel, and lay down and closed my eyes, listening for God.
It was a breezy morning. The palm trees spoke in a susurrous murmur that sounded like rain. They undulated and waggled their long fingers as if in the throes of an ancient tribal dance, moved by the spirit wind blowing where it wills. The waves too, rolled forward and receded, waltzing with this wind. They leaped up on the rocks and jumped off in a spray of exultant joy, fizzing with excitement. They broke and crashed with a fullness that tugged at my soul. A deepness that eluded to ancient mysteries.
As deep calls to deep.
The roar was louder, more real at the ocean side, but I had not yet wet my skin or tasted the salt.
I walked to the edge, the seam where water meets land. It can be hard work walking through the sand, but the ground becomes firm the closer you get to the water. It bore me up, and the swash swept forward to gently tug and my feet, slowly pulling grains from beneath as if trying to pull me forward too. Inviting.
Come to me all you who are weary and burdened.
The water held me. Cradled me. Just like God does. I let my body float, surrendering to the ebb and flow, physically aware of God’s current that runs through everything. It was like being suspended outside of time, entering instead into Him. Then in peace and clarity, I began to notice humming pulse of life all around me. The blue iguana sunning himself on the rocks of the cove that jutted out in the water. The crabs nimbly hopping between rocks as if pulled by magnets. The snails and barnacles teeming on the rocks, giving the rocks a life of their own.
All of that was just on the surface. To be submerged was to experience new life. An awakening to an entirely different world.
And it gets bigger the deeper you go.
Always calling. Will you answer?
Image taken from: imgsrc.allposters.com/img/print/posters/lynn-m-stone-queen-conch-in-sea-foam_a-G-3522783-14258389.jpg