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seashore prayer

Who are you? How is it you live within me and I within you, and still I am flummoxed by you? My heart’s cry is to enjoy you, yet that’s not always a straightforward task in this world.

I tend to be hard on myself for either not accomplishing enough or being overly focused on accomplishing. Talk about a catch 22. I know that my fears are vanity and illusion. They are a joke that we are laughing at together. We are laughing so hard we cry; crying so hard we laugh.

We’re children on the seashore, playing at a game of hide-and-seek. You have hidden yourself in the heart of the sea, and we can’t stop searching for you, bringing out ever more sophisticated equipment, forever weeping. We’ve grown more attached to our misery than engrossed in the adventure of the search.

Meanwhile you weep and you laugh, saying, “I am the ocean you’re searching in.”

I stand back for a moment. For a moment I get the joke, and we are one. I am won. And then – because I continue to live on this seashore-planet – I dive back in.


I am indebted to the luminous Rabindranath Tagore, whose poem inspired this post.

On the Seashore

On the seashore of endless worlds children meet.

The infinite sky is motionless overhead and the restless water is boisterous. On the seashore of endless worlds the children meet with shouts and dances.

They build their houses with sand, and they play with empty shells. With withered leaves they weave their boats and smilingly float them on the vast deep. Children have their play on the seashore of worlds.

They know not how to swim, they know not how to cast nets. Pearl-fishers dive for pearls, merchants sail in their ships, while children gather pebbles and scatter them again. They seek not for hidden treasures, they know not how to cast nets.

The sea surges up with laughter, and pale gleams the smile of the sea-beach. Death-dealing waves sing meaningless ballads to the children, even like a mother while rocking her baby’s cradle. The sea plays with children, and pale gleams the smile of the sea-beach.

On the seashore of endless worlds children meet. Tempest roams in the pathless sky, ships are wrecked in the trackless water, death is abroad and children play. On the seashore of endless worlds is the great meeting of children.

4 thoughts on “seashore prayer”

  1. oh, Hannah…I will be praying with your poem for quite some time…whenever I read things you write, it’s like the experience of spiritual direction – something “glimmers” for me, invites me to sit down and dine. Such merciful hospitality God offers us through each other…I say yes. Thank you – for being.

  2. Love this post Hannah. Your words are just thing for setting the morning. Your photo is particularly gorgeous and so perfect for the Tagore poem. His words, like Rumi are some of the most sublime ever written. Thank you!

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