Friday, July 12, 2013

Dancing on the Seashore

Friday greetings. It is an absolutely beautiful day here in Chicago; low humidity, abundant sunshine, with a temperature in the low 80's.

I am looking forward to my vacation, which begins in a few short hours. I will be spending the week with family and friends in Ogunquit, Maine, a small town on the coast of southern Maine, pictured here.

Ogunquit is the home of the famous "Marginal Way," a walkway along the dramatic coast line:

As well as Perkin's Cover, pictured here:

Here's a shot of the Ogunquit Lobster Pound:

As I look forward to the week away, I have become a bit down. My life in recent months has been in some turmoil. I've lost two friends who died very suddenly. Too many friends and family members are living through very serious illnesses. My Catholic worship life has been in upheaval and I am at a loss as to where this will lead.

This vacation along the coast couldn't come at a better time.

I remember once, in a place not too far north of Ogunquit, actually dancing with God. I was on retreat at this retreat house, along the coast in Biddeford, Maine.

I was in my early twenties, a seminarian with high hopes for a future in the ordained priesthood. I didn't have family members that were ill. There were no friends who died very suddenly. I remember standing on that beach you see above late one night during the retreat. There was no one around. And I just started to dance on the sand. If there is one gift I have not been given, it is the gift of dance. Ask anyone who has seen me on a dance floor at a family wedding! At any rate, there I stood, dancing on that seashore, just praising God and feeling like I was invincible, without a care in the world.

This week, on that same shore, I know that I will not be moved to dance. Folks, it's just that I am not finding much to dance about these days. Perhaps this is just some kind of maudlin pre-vacation feeling. I do hope to re-discover some of the joy that seems to have seeped out of my heart in these difficult months. That is what I am praying for as I prepare to fly to Boston later today. Please keep me in your prayers as the week unfolds. Not to worry, I am fine, just need some time to find the center again.

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.


Anonymous said...

Jerry - may the time away give you many reasons to dance with God once again. Amidst the pain, loss and worry may you find deep peace. Abundant blessings!

Denise Morency Gannon said...

If you feel like a spin into Kennybunkport to explore more of the area, my cousin Peter and his wife Kate own and operate two really cool eateries. Pier 77 has fine dining on the upper level facing Cape Porpoise waters with a lower level bistro of traditional New England fare. The George Bush's eat there all the time when they're in their Maine home. If you feel like Mexican fare, Pedro's packs them in the center of Kennybunkport. Ask to meet Peter and Kate in either place and tell them I sent you. You can find either place online.

I'm keeping you in prayers. I get where you are and what you may be experiencing within a dark, bleak and dry period of your life. Here's hoping you dance on the oceanfront this week! Have fun!

Doug Peltak said...

I am moved by your lament and would just like to say that, it is always important that we give our sorrow and grief the attention they deserve. As a person who is so busy making the lives of others meanigful, we can easily get caught up in that busyness and not pay attention to our own needs. Just as we remind others of the presence of Jesus, who walks with us, so to, we can avail our selves to that presence when the journey becomes difficult. Perhaps it is this time of getting away to a quiet place which, will provide heavenly music for the dance on the seashore. I admire the work you do for the building up of the church and remember meeting you in Marlboro and Sterling. Isn't it interesting how those of us who profess to have such a strong faith find ourselves struggling when things appear to be so personal? Clearly and opportunity to encounter the living God who wants to heal us. In his first encyclical Pope Francis wrote, "Faith is born of an encounter with the living God who calls us and reveals his love, a love which precedes us and upon which we can lean for security and for building our lives. Transformed by this love, we gain fresh vision, new eyes to see: we realize that it contains a great promise of fulfillment and that a vision of the future opens up before us. Keeping you in prayer, enjoy your time away.