For me, to stand on that particular shore was something of a personal fulfilment: a promise kept to myself to greet the sea once more after many years of personal trials. I stood there in silence, feeling the crunch of wet sand underfoot, breathing in the salt air on that perfect October afternoon, listening to the soft wash and sigh of the incoming waves – the tallest barely more than ankle-high. The simplest experiences can offer consolation, even a sense of redemption, of being given a new reason to have inner faith when faith has been something that we hardly dare to feel any more.
Having such inner faith can give a sense of peace, a deep sense that things are unfolding as they should, that all is as it is because that is the way it needs to be. Even just a simple trust in what might be round the corner for us can be a silent wish. But even this silence can be full of fierce longing. We plant its flag on some shore known or unknown, and the mere presence of that flag proclaims: ‘I am here – this is where I choose to stand’. And where we stand is a place which mirrors our deeply-felt inner trust, and all is reflected in its depths. But when we gaze into this mirror of trust, is it always our own face that we see?
The Ancient World called her Sophia – Wisdom. She is the creative force behind all things, and a line from a text written in her name promises that she will come to those who reflect on her. That line was written over a thousand years ago, and the fragile text which contains it, known as Thunder, Perfect Mind, was lost for sixteen long centuries, buried in a jar in the Egyptian sands before being unearthed by chance. It is as if some things are just not meant to be lost. That text, which contains some of the most fiercely beautiful lines I know, was adrift on another ocean – the ocean of time – before at last being washed up on our own shore.
Written by an unknown hand, the clear voice of Sophia in that text reaches out to us once more across the centuries. Such endurance against all the odds provides its own powerful message of faith, for faith as well is not meant to be lost, however long it might remain buried. Now once more we can gaze into Sophia’s mirror and, if we choose to and if we are open to her spirit, it is her face that we will see there as well as our own.