Lately I sleep poorly and wake early. I open my bedroom door and am greeted by a panorama that Turner would've taken as an invitation to paint: the sun's approach is announced by a mother-of-pearl sky over the Isle of Dogs, and a lone rower pulls his way down the Thames at low tide. Soon there will be tugboats and clippers introducing a dissonance to this harmony, but in this hour before dawn the waters are the rower's, and his alone. Where he goes to work for the rest of the day I cannot guess, but I wonder if he goes about his tasks happier for having let the sunrise and the tide be the beginning of his day. I have no boat of my own to row, but our wall of windows overlooking the river make the flat feel like a ship of sorts. So I sit on the "deck" and watch the day come. I wonder what these shores and life on them were like many, many years ago when sailors could only rely upon the wind, the stars, and their Maker for a safe journey. I think about the songs that were born from lives reliant upon and subject to the tides...songs of discovery and songs of loss.
I am trying to carve out a life beside this river. I am learning the pattern of seeking, finding, losing that runs through life, advancing and receding like the tides. In these hours before dawn, before the rest of the city is awake to distract and overwhelm, I am glad to let the quiet morning tell me of my Maker. He has painted the sky and ordered the tides and fills the rower's lungs with breath. He is behind and above and before any loss; he stands ready to be found in all my seeking, in the great things and the small. If I am torn by wind or set my course by a dim star, he is still there. The songs of this season of life will be songs of deliverance, songs of redemption.