Yesterday heralded the start of the winter school holidays in South Africa, and along with that, Holiday Club or Vacation Bible School or VBS—dependent on what your preference is—at churches across our nation.
This past Sunday, we walked into our church…a church that had cellophane jelly fish and octopuses hanging from the roof. The windows were covered in a clear blue film and the walls were papered over with underwater paintings. Yep, our church is good and ready for Holiday Club this week. And the theme this year is Submerged. The theme verses, Ephesians 3:16-19… “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
As I glanced around at the new church décor, my mind drifted to an experience I had a few weeks ago. My son has recently purchased a pair of virtual reality glasses. He told me I had to try them on. So I did. Suddenly I wasn’t standing in the middle of his lounge wearing a pair of goofy shades—rather, I was descending to the bottom of the ocean in a cage with far too few bars for my liking. It was the craziest thing I’ve ever experienced. It was like I was “there”. I gingerly walked to the edge of the cage to peer over the sides and the back, I listened to the chatter of those guiding me to the bottom of the ocean past the most colourful Avatar-type (as in the movie) landscape, and I recoiled in horror as a great white shark ripped one side of the cage away with its mighty jaws. I was literally “submerged” in the experience.
Sitting there in church, reminded of the ocean, I thought about how much I love using analogies of the waves and the tides and the shore to show emotions in my writing.
She glanced back at the two-story building, her very being swelling and then quickly sagging at the collection of happy and sad memories. Through the generations, so much loving and living had happened under that roof. The ebb and flow of life.
Now it seemed that life merely ebbed, dragging the very soul of Villa Rossi with it.
Good. Her resolve to remain unaffected and distance herself from him returned.
Maybe. And just as quickly retreated with the ebb and flow of emotions this man seemed to evoke—not all pleasant, but becoming increasingly so.
The Other You:
Would they? Doubt, mingled with a great dose of fear, rushed at her like the waves on the shore. She pushed both feelings aside, and they ebbed away, only to return moments later. The ebb and flow of her erratic emotions.
A Time to Laugh:
She released a sigh as the angst she’d been feeling over this appointment receded like the tide. She stared out over the ocean. “This is so beautiful. And God is so good.”
They laughed and joked as they walked back to their house, the heaviness they’d taken to the beach swept away in the ocean of His love.
A Time to Love:
He managed a smile. “Time on the beach will do us all good. There’s nothing like the ocean to make one reflect on life and God.”
Or love, and the vastness thereof.
Those are just a few examples. I’m sure there are more instances in my other books. I’m certain the book I’m about to start writing, A Time to Push Daisies (Book 3 of 3 in Under the Sun ~ Seasons of Change series), will have lots of references to the ocean as the story is set on a cruise ship. This story will be available toward the end of August in the Somewhere Beyond the Blue box set.
I was also reminded about a song I wrote based on an African proverb from neighboring Madagasgar (and you’re probably thinking I didn’t listen to anything the preacher said). The proverb goes like this: “Let your love be like the misty rains, coming softly, but flooding the river.” I called my song, Misty Rain.
I never knew how to love,
never been told what it’s about.
Please show me again
the wonder of it all,
because I’ve felt your love,
and I want more…
Your love is like the misty rain—
let it fall on me,
let it flow to the sea.
yet still flooding the river.
Falling in love, being in love, is like that…a total immersion into those warm and wonderful and bubbly, floaty feelings. Submersion. And isn’t it wonderful that romance readers can experience those emotions over and over through the mere power of words.
God’s love is like that too, but better. Romans 8:38-39 says so… “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Are you submerged?