A MOMENT TO REFLECT

31 July 2020

A Moment to Reflect -76

THE RESTLESS SEA

“Though I am often in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony and music inside me.” ― Vincent van Gogh

When I began this series of reflections, I talked a lot about stillness. I posted a couple of photographs of lochs so still that they were like highly polished mirrors.

The sea, of course, is never completely still —not even on the calmest of days. And sometimes it becomes a frenzied, churning cauldron, tossing and heaving anything attempting to float on its surface. Fortunately, I’ve never been on a ship caught in a fierce storm and I have to say it is not an experience that I’m going to put on my ‘bucket list.’

As for life itself… we don’t get to make the choice. 

The storms of life, great or small, long or short, can explode upon any of us without warning and without any option to escape them. (Or upon all of us in the case of the global pandemic.) The best we can hope for is to get through them safely.

The artist Vincent Van Gogh knew all about such storms in his own life, being troubled with bouts of self-doubt, deep depression and other mental health issues. (He may have suffered from bipolar disorder.) Van Gogh’s mind was often troubled by raging storms. Yet he could speak about a stillness within himself.

Among the many interesting things that Van Gogh wrote, especially in his letters to his brother Theo, he makes a profound and perceptive observation about the human heart which I think is very much worth sharing and reflecting on, whether life for you at the moment is plain sailing or rough seas.

“The heart of man is very much like the sea, it has its storms, it has its tides and in its depths it has its pearls too” ― Vincent van Gogh, The Letters of Vincent van Gogh

You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds,
    God our Saviour,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
    and of the farthest seas,
who formed the mountains by your power,
    having armed yourself with strength,
who stilled the roaring of the seas,
    the roaring of their waves,
    and the turmoil of the nations.
The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
    where morning dawns, where evening fades,
    you call forth songs of joy—Psalm 65:5-8