It's hard to fully understand my city. Americans can romanticize it because of a movie with the same name. I know I did a bit. I assumed it would be more European looking. I thought the people might take more pride in their city. I was wrong. Garbage and trash, along with shabby shelters are intermingled with most buildings here. But, as one friend puts it, "They haven't trashed the Atlantic Ocean.
Once again, as I was walking along the beach this afternoon, I was amazed at the wonder and beauty of the ocean's surf, its vast waves crashing upon golden sand. And it keeps coming in, day after day. The wonder of the beauty encourages me, restores me and helps me to enjoy something intensely calming. I feel God's presence, especially at sunset. That brilliant ball of sunlight is incredible and almost overwhelming. I hope you know what I mean.
Today, we saw several fishermen in the golden dusk. The huge long polls set on stubs of wood set in the sand. I have never seen them catch anything; maybe it happens once the sun has set? Today, they had their boots on for catching and pulling in the fish. I admired the reflections in the surf-swept sand. I stretched my back and shoulders and let go of many things.
I let go....of having all the answers, of knowing the right thing to say or do at every moment. (How could I possibly?) I let go of trying to understand this culture for a few minutes, and just relax in God's presence.
Here, the students and parents often think grades are to be negotiated. They think it is like when you negotiate for a fake Guess watch in the medina. Both students and parents come up to teachers and see if they can change the grade by pressuring the teacher. A sister of a student I teach came to me to negotiate her brothers "S" in art. It's worth a shot, everything is negotiable, they think. They didn't really get a 2 out of 10 on that quiz. You must have mis-graded it. How could you,"Miss", they plead.
You know what? The Atlantic doesn't negotiate. It comes in and goes out like clockwork no matter what you say to it, often with a beautiful surf and sleep-inducing sound. The Moroccans can't negotiate that one. Now, that makes me really smile.
And the Atlantic also reminds me of God's faithfulness and certainty, never to be taken or negotiated by anyone. He is faithfully here, on this side of the Atlantic.