I love this little look out platform, hidden within the scrubby trees just off Patterson’s Walk in Ferring. The sea view is predictable enough perhaps, but still hard to beat with its line of lemon light seemingly carrying the clouds.
What I also love, but had never really noticed until now, is the juxtaposition of two seaside items: a striking red lifebuoy and a cobalt blue telescope.
One is there to rescue you while the other gives you vision, lets you look ahead and dream.
At first glance, they seem so utterly independent of each other. What could they possibly have in common? Safety and vision - so unrelated – and yet we need both at different times.
It’s funny how comforting it is just to know the lifebuoy is always there. Even if we think we don’t need it. Even if we think we’ll never need it. The truth is, storms come to all of us. We all have ‘lifebuoy days’ when we need someone to throw us an inflatable ring.
It is not weakness to need that, nor is it weakness to catch it and cling on, to accept that help. It’s ok to be human, to be fallible. It’s ok to need that rescue at times.
Then there are the telescope days, when you want to drink everything in, to look ahead and gain some vision. Maybe we’re dreaming of all that’s in store for us, or maybe we’re looking out to a metaphorical sea, wondering if anyone else out there is flailing and needs a lifebuoy. Vision enables us to throw that inflatable ring to others. Though really, it’s not us who is rescuing them. We are merely passing on the rescue we have received ourselves.
And perhaps we need to know the lifebuoy is there in order to act on the vision of the telescope. It gives us courage to take the risks that come with vision. It’s hard to fully engage with our dreams without that security.
On the ‘lifebuoy days’, we shouldn’t beat ourselves up for not having vision. There are days when we just need to receive the help of others. There will be other days to dream.
I gaze again at the striking red lifesaver and the cobalt blue telescope.
There they are, permanent fixtures, security and vision side by side. We need the lifebuoy there in order to have the vision of the telescope. For me, it’s the rescue Christ offers and the future that rescue allows us.
Whichever kind of day you’re having, both are there. Accept the help you need or dream a little, maybe be that help for others.
Where do you find your help? What’s your life ring?
Psalm 40 - He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand… Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us.