The Masquerade Part One
“Your Kings are in deadly fear of the sea because they can never quite forget that in all stories Aslan comes from over the sea.” (C.S. Lewis, Prince Caspian)
Confession: I’m afraid of the sea.
Maybe it’s because I’ve grown up mostly in landlocked states and thus haven’t had the opportunity to truly acquaint myself with the wonders of the ocean. I certainly respect and appreciate it, the enchanting and treacherous frontier of poets and adventurers. But though I can be easily persuaded to glide upon a few waves and swim the coast in search of mermaids and seashells, the depth of the ocean still frightens me.
Farther out, deeper still, and what lies beneath my dangling feet? Creatures of danger or perhaps a breath-starved void that might drag me down—down forever until my life escapes in a million soundless screams that climb skyward as glass bubbles.
But the very fear that gives me pause, allows for my second confession:
I also love the sea.
For it is that very deepness that tugs at the very fabric of my being. It has been said that ships remain safe in harbor, but that is not what ships were made for. In the same way somewhere, stowed down in my bones, lies the undeniable knowledge. that I too was never meant to remain forever ashore.
Out into beyond, farther up and further in, that is where I must go. To weigh anchor where the freedom of the sky weds the hope of the horizon. There might I find depths to quench the terrible thirst in my soul, the longing for something more.
This is what I was made for, this communion with the deep, with the wide.
And what I am I seeking on this voyage? What drives soul-ships before the wind into the reach of tempest, tide, and terror?
We are a hungry people, a race of the awe-starved. We drown in the shallows and flounder on the shore when the healing our hearts truly thirst for is not to be plucked from the water but to be flung farther out to sea. We are a homeless generation looking for a place to belong (Voskamp). And it may take years of wandering on the beach before you can scoop up the grains of social networking, cup a handful of endless consumption and see them for what they really are—elements of our masks.
In a “fakebook” world, we are starved for authenticity and meaning. Amidst tidal pools of instagram perfection, we thirst for what is genuine and true. A population saturated with communication remains a barren husk rasping with the pain of loneliness.
But above all flows an irrepressible voice, a maritime song that salts the breeze. In our hunger, there is one who says “seek and be satisfied.” In our thirst a voice beckons “come to the well.” And in our solitude one draws near to whisper “never alone.”
“Christ can save me from a soul-emptying addiction to praise and applause…Christ is more satisfying to my soul than likes and shares…Christ is sufficient to save me from an addiction to online, click-bait controversies, curiosities, and celebrity news…Christ alone satisfies the awe-hunger in my heart.
For we’re all made to become really real” (Voskamp).
Hear the call of albatross, a song that invites all empty souls to embark. With a hand to the helm and an eye to the sky, steer by the stars and the seabird’s cry. The shore and shallows will never be enough for the heart molded by the infinite. For if we are crafted by a holy and boundless hand, then only in the embrace of a holy and boundless God will we find peace and rest for our souls. And we are duty bound to try and draw as many with us as will come.
If our people are drowning in apathy, then let us dive right in after them. And if hearts are chaffed by the siren of impregnable perfection, then let us strip of the scales of our masks and be vulnerable. If truth and meaning are lost, then it is time to set sail!
The way will be perilous, that is certain, and ships and sailors alike may face the lure of the enemy or the claws of the hurricane, but when the Cross is your mast, then never will you sink.
As long as you have breath, never stop sailing, never give up swimming.
Return occasionally to shore, but sail and sail again to know truth and take hold of the adventure!
Sail until your final voyage at last finds harbor in holiness, where the Father is still calling his children home.
Images via: pinterest, deviantart, mobile-phones.com.uk, Lydia O'Neal (mermaid in the desert)
All work subject to copyright by the author. Use by permission only. 2015.