Religion Magazine

Glory Tea – Sunsets in Goa

By Marilyngardner5 @marilyngard

She’s back from India! Robynn is back and with it Fridays with Robynn. Communicating Across Boundaries is not the same without her voice so I welcome her with virtual open arms. Her piece is a delight of words and pictures, bringing solace and beauty into my mid-January funk. Welcome back Robynn!

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Glory Tea – Sunsets in Goa by Robynn

Goa sunsets 2

In the heart of December, when life here in North America is typically gray and cold and long and dark, we luxuriously spent five nights and four whole long days on the beaches of Goa, India. Four days we basked in Sun and Nothing. It was a soul’s bubble bath: rejuvenating and restful. Those four days gave us a chance to process our time in that great nation, to reminisce and tell stories of other times in India and to look forward and imagine when we might be back. We laughed a lot, we layed around a lot, we walked on the beach, swam in the sea. It was pure bliss!

Each night we returned to the sand to watch the sun set.  Slowly the sun would turn bold and golden and would begin to dip across the sky. She would tiptoe backwards toward the horizon, gathering her skirts in her hands, ever so slowly she would go. And we watched with bated breath, curious, expectant, even though we knew how the story would end. She would eventually curtsy and take her leave. It’s happened the same every day since the beginning of suns and seas.

The sea, in anticipation of the great farewell, would change her clothes as well. She would quietly don radiant ambers and glorious golds; molten and melting; shimmering and alive—a roseate sari with an exquisitely embroidered border of embossed brocade. Every evening seeing her so transformed was exhilarating and breath-taking.

And we watched…

We came to experience the holiness of it all, but so did everyone else! It was a community event. People who had been at work all day, came. Vacationers, holiday makers, the lazy and the idle came. Whole families came with their grandmas and grandpas, the babies, the toddlers, the gangly teenagers. Newly married couples came shyly, hands held quietly. The lame, the lonely, the isolated, the misunderstood, they too came. Groups of friends, laughing, teasing, pushing stopped to see. Brown people. White people. Skinny people. Round people. The young and the old. The smooth spread of sand welcomed everyone.

It was glorious.

As the ocean rolled out the red carpet for the sun’s final curtain call, many of the bystanders stepped out into it. It was as if it called to us. Deep to deep. We were all invited to be steeped in the glory of it all. The community some with their toes wet, and ankles splashed, the waves sprinkling up across their faces; others immersed and fully drenched watched and waited.

And it was holiness and it was glory. For me it was also a sweet reassurance that God is and that he invites us out into the mystery of life and faith. We are steeped in His Glory Tea.  We are dipped in the sweetness of His presence. Everyone watches but few really see. When you catch a glimpse….you’re speechless and out of breath. The sun set is proof that the sun rises daily with glory and joy and radiance and great spectacle.

***

I’m trying to remember that, now, today. Winter has locked Kansas in. The slush is the closest thing I have to sand. The snow is my sea. And it pulls me in and under and I feel myself drowning in the gray and cold of it. It’s not as easy for me to remember the warmth of His presence, nor the glory, nor the holiness when I feel tired, and cold and sad. I pour myself a cup of ginger tea. I dip the tea bag up and down, reverentially into the wet…and if I squint my eyes just a little I can call to mind the sun’s golden setting and feel the mist of the sea. And I sip my tea and a slow tear slides down my cheek.

There is glory here too…in tea and warm places. I will savour it and sip in His holiness.

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