Thursday, May 8, 2008

"One Particular Harbour" and Clarity

One Particular Harbour (by Jimmy Buffett)
I know I don't get there often enough
But God knows I surely try
It's a magic kind of medicine
That no doctor could prescribe
I used to rule my world from a pay phone
And ships out on the sea
But now times are rough
And I got too much stuff
Can't explain the likes of me
But there's this one particular harbour
So far but yet so near
Where I see the days as they fade away
And finally disappear
But now I think about the good times
Down in the Caribbean sunshine
In my younger days I was so bad
Laughin' about all the fun we had
Lakes below the mountains
Flow into the sea
Like oils applied to canvas
They permeate through me
And there's that one particular harbour
Sheltered from the wind
Where the children play on the shore each day
And all are safe within
Most mysterious calling harbour
So far but yet so near
I can see the day when my hair's full gray
And I finally disappear
Some people like the beat of music...and that's OK with me, but if I can have my choice I will take great lyrics any day over any musical aspect of a song. My tastes in music are as eclectic as most every aspect of my life. I enjoy everything from the William Tell Overture composed by Gioachino Rossini to Detroit Rock City by Kiss. I love U2, Take 6, Hank Williams, Jr., Ricky Skaggs, Lynard Skynard, Fairfield 4, Byron Cage and The B52's. Believe it or not I once actually dabbled in The Dead Kennedys and The Butthole Surfers...that was a fun time in life and interesting to say the least. When it is all said and done though I go back to the lyrics. To me the best lyrics come from people like Jimmy Buffett, Willie Nelson and even Billy Joel.
One Particular Harbour was my late brother's favorite song by Buffett and I really wanted to hear that today for some reason. Those lyrics really touch me because Jimmy is singing about a comforting place in life that is often just our of reach. Things, schedules and stuff continue to be obstacles to that one particular harbour. It's as though the place he really wants to be is hidden from him by the life he is living.
For me, the place where I long to be and the place where I often find myself are so different. Why? Is it the difference between my stated beliefs and my core beliefs? Is it the fact that I just don't exercise the discipline to produce the outcome I desire? Do I really not long to be in that good place? Maybe the simple truth is hidden by the complex perception?
Maybe I am exactly in that one particular harbour and I just don't know it. Maybe I wake up daily in that Harbour and despite how far I walk and how much I doubt, I never leave that Harbour. There is so much comfort in that thought...I hope it's true. I think God speaks about a Harbour through David in Psalm 139.
Psalm 139:1 You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely. 5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—when I awake, I am still with you.
It seems that when we go to sleep, when we wake and when go about our lives God is there, present and paying attention. The Creator of Peace walks with us. The Inventor of Life is near. The Designer of Grace hovers about us, extending all we need. Still that One Particular Harbour of God is hidden by the dense fog we allow to settle in our lives. That's how God can be so close, yet seem so far. Maybe the Harbour isn't about a place because maybe it is so much more simple than that. Maybe the Harbour is about vision and that vision affecting our attitudes. I can allow bitterness, resentment, guilt and shame to cloud my vision of the Harbour to the degree that I even deny the existence of the Harbour or I can see clearly.
Jesus once spit in the eyes of a blind man and it only partially healed him. He could see but not with any great degree of clarity. So he did it again and the man was completely healed. I don't think Jesus misjudged the amount of blindness the man had and I don't think he just botched it. I think Jesus was showing us that even though we have been saved, maybe we need another touch. Maybe we need to have another touch so we can clearly see the Harbour in which we live and maybe seeing that Harbour will allow us to rest in Him. When we see with His clarity we can stop searching for our Harbour and begin to live for others in hope that they also will join us in God's One Particular Harbour..."Then I see the day when my hair's full gray and I finally disappear". May it be so...and soon.

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