I never consider myself a tourist when walking the beaches near Santa Cruz with my sister whose status as a ‘local’ I’ve always claimed…till one day last year.
Joy and I combed the beach for the usual; shells, driftwood, abandoned sandals in my size…perfectly content with the familiar routine. Content, that is, until we notice a few people totally engrossed in a hunt of some sort. Bent over in focused and deliberate swishing, and picking with intensity, like archeologists hovering over ancient ruins.
They were on to something big! And, we realize, we are completely out of the loop. They have bags. We don’t have bags. Their bags hold treasures. Clueless, we ask what they are.
“Sea glass!” they chime incredulously, which to me sounded like:
“What?! Are you from Modesto or something? Every local knows about sea glass!”
Ah, dearest sea glass, we didn’t realize we needed you or wanted you. We’ve walked right by, perhaps even stepped on you without a thought. Till today, finding a sand dollar was as good as it gets. Now we realize we can’t live without you. You have forever changed the way we do life on this beach. All inferior pursuits must now move aside while we lose ourselves in procuring you for the next two hours…or more.
Just one year later, my eye is so acutely trained, I can spot sea glass with barely a glance. Sea glass identification is in my DNA, and I can even pick it up with the casualness of a local without screaming,
“I found one!”
I’m not trying to be being irreverent or even theologically accurate, but I think the Holy Spirit is like sea glass. So often, I walk by without even recognizing Him or considering He may have something to contribute to the day.
Labeled “the forgotten God” by some, I think He is perhaps the un-realized God. We don’t experience His involvement because we haven’t tasted His kindness in the routine moments of our lives. We don’t take Him into account when we are struggling in relationships, or battling temptation. We are used to doing life without Him, never tuning to that quiet voice full of wisdom and help.
“…I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever. That is the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and shall be in you” John 14:16-17
The thing is, I do know Him. And it is His role to help me. Too often I rely on my limited understanding, content with familiar routines until I stop and consider Him. When I remember He actually lives inside as my personal treasure, ready to dispense all truth and peace, I get to put Him in my pocket and take Him with me. You might say He is the true local, and I’m just living the thing.