My pastor quoted Spurgeon a few weeks ago, “I have learned to kiss the wave that strikes me against the Rock of ages.”
I find it interesting that he uses the present tense, strikes. If it was I who coined the phrase it would read, “I have learned to kiss the wave that has thrown me against the Rock of ages,” and it would be true. I have become quite adept at being grateful for storms after the storms have passed. It is while I am being thrown against the rock, tossed by high seas and white caps, that I am least grateful for the waves and the rock itself.
I am an internal processor, storms will brew inside of me for weeks, months, and moments before anyone will see the residual effects or the hurricane itself. But sometimes I go weeks, months, and moments without sharing that storm with anyone. Sometimes it dissipates and I am better for it. Sometimes it builds and I find myself worse in every way.
This week the storms have brewed and boiled and brimmed over inside of me and no matter where I have looked I have not felt a harbor safe enough to dock. One roommate is overseas. One is road-tripping all over our native northeast. One is navigating the relational complexities of life with a boyfriend. I feel far away from those who are my family by blood and by felt. I feel without a shepherd, a father, or accountability. My best friends seem to be in every state but Texas. When I finally wanted to process externally, there was no one to confess, voice, or listen to.
John Donne said, “No man is an island,” but he went on to say, “If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less.” So it is not the clod or the island that the oft quoted poem is really about, is it, but the mainland itself? Europe, who is made less.
I think about the Rock tonight, the one I am thrown against in these weeks, because it has been one storm after another—some of my own making, some of other’s making, and some I don’t know what to make of at all. And I think about how solid the Rock is, deeply in, touching the bottom of the earth and poking out on the other side, there and present. I think about how being apart from the Rock makes me worse for the wear and more likely to be thrown against it. It who should be my safest place. Strange how what keeps us safest can sometimes wreck us most?
I feel the wrecking this summer. All summer I have felt it. And I have not learned to kiss the wave that strikes me against the Rock, though I know I will love it when this season is over, when I see the good the wrecking has done. But I want to love it. I want to kiss it. I want to press in closely to this Rock, feel the full front of the waves and the storm, knowing I am not an island, and I am not a ship lost at sea, and I am not a clod washed away.
I am hidden safely and kept, watched over and known.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.