It’s that time of the year when all kids and grandkids tangled with the last name LaTorre gravitate to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to mingle for a week of beachy goodness. I’ve been included for twenty five years and I might add we never missed a gathering. Apart from all the fun, my heart tingles for the opportunity to escape in the wee hours of morning to the sand and watch the sun rise over the horizon of the ocean. The sound of the waves, the taste of salt, and the visual gift of an alfresco painting performed live by the hand of God himself can make me weep. I’m a glutton for this activity, gorging on nature as much as I can hold in before I explode/write it down. Interacting with beauty fills my heart.
As I feel myself small at the edge of the Atlantic ocean where the waves swell, curl, fall and tickle my toes, I am fully aware that this very same water stretches as far as Africa. This naturally takes my mind to our Kirabo Seeds family in Uganda. Our children in the home sometimes get the treat to go to the beaches of Lake Victoria. In case you didn’t know, it is the second largest fresh water lake in the world, second to Lake Superior. The beaches have waves and stretch far enough to make enough room for the many sojourners who spend the weekend there enjoying playful romps in the sand and water. Above any pleasure outing we have given the children, their favorite and most requested is a beach visit. Our friends (and sponsors) Jim and Vicki King, will visit Kirabo Seeds in Uganda mid August. Their plan is to treat the family to a day at the beach. The kids will be aghast with joy.
One time we asked the children what they would do to help other children if they could and Victoria said she would like to take all the children in Uganda to play at the beach because it is much better than the swamp she used to swim in to cool off. The beach is both a decadent luxury of sensual joy and a perfect gift from God. I can’t think of one person I have ever met who doesn’t love the beach. Can you?
Surrounded by the pleasures of the beach my heart opens and hears more than possible in my regular rush of life at home. A listening heart is able to reevaluate and reset my own personal endeavors. Sometimes I sit and watch the beach scene and feel it direct me inward to see bits of my life that need a good prune, tweak, or refreshing. Somehow I can see more clearly places where I’m putting energy that I shouldn’t, holding expectations that are unrealistic, and exerting effort that is futile. I can also envision dreams that are becoming possible. And I begin to wonder what if the God story of Kirabo Seeds’ birth could inspire others to trust God and do something … else… better… different… daring… risky… and totally satisfying. What if I wrote it down…(finally)? What if our story inspires a listening heart in others?
I’m feeling the heart position I have patiently awaited for many years to tell this story with candor, peace, and humor. I’ve mostly been waiting for the hurt and anger to give way to forgiveness and acceptance. Me? I don’t like angry art. The peace I have hungered for is rolling in like an ocean wave in the absence of wind. It is gentle, slow, and careful. I survey what God has given these children against odds and struggle and it is nothing short of a miracle. My heart is opening again. My heart is listening. And I’m teetering on the edge of letting what it hears make art. I’m gathering courage.
Julia Cameron wrote: “Writing is the ART of a listening heart.” And she points out that both words “art” and ear” are hidden within the word heart. As you enter your weekend I hope you can enjoy a listening heart that leads you towards interacting with something beautiful…or maybe even better… create something extraordinary.