The ocean was like glass as the three of us plied our kayaks through the gray-green water one midsummer morning off the coast of Maine. A good day for spotting seals.
Carey was paddling with a rowboat oar because one kayak paddle was missing. Sue and I, with our proper paddles, forged ahead toward what looked like seals' heads. Carey lagged behind, working patiently as he switched his oar from side to side. We drew near our sighting to find only seabirds. We paddled farther around the island in our quest to find seals on the other side.
Meanwhile, Carey, far behind, sat quietly in his kayak, not paddling. When we called to him, he replied in a hushed voice, "I'm watching seals."
All around his kayak, glistening gray heads were poking out of the water and slipping gently back under, only to reappear even closer to him. Suddenly, Sue and I saw seals all around us as well. We'd been so busy searching for them where we thought they'd be that we'd missed them all around us. For about 30 minutes we sat peacefully in our kayaks while those friendly seals entertained us.
Later, as we paddled back, I was thinking not so much about the seals but about the lesson the experience had taught me. Seeking and finding the seals became a metaphor for me for how to seek and find God's goodness in our lives and the health, abundance, joy, and peace that divine goodness includes. It was evident that stillness was a key step.
I remembered that Christ Jesus taught his followers, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33). Jesus didn't just say those words; he lived this teaching. For instance, when he fed the multitudes, he didn't worry about how many hungry people needed to be fed or how few loaves and fishes there were on hand. He expressed such assurance, stillness, expectation, and gratitude as he turned to God to acknowledge God's ever-presence and therefore the ever-presence of all the good that anyone would ever need. And thousands of people were fed. He sought first the kingdom of heaven that was at hand.
I realized that I, too, had been able to prove to some degree the effectiveness of this approach to seeking and finding. For instance, one time when we'd sold our house, we had only a short time to find a new home and to move. I'd been frantically working with a realtor, looking in the area I thought would be best, but to no avail.
Then one Sunday morning, I felt compelled to silence all of the mental clamoring and even to stop looking with the realtor. I began to pray – not for a house, but to feel the allness of God. And what peace that prayer brought. Later that day I got a clear intuition to ask the realtor to look in an area that my husband had suggested earlier but that wasn't in the neighborhood I'd had in mind. Immediately the realtor found a house that matched our needs beautifully. From the moment we saw it, we knew it was the right one, and it even suited our budget better than the other houses we'd seen. The answer had been there all along.
"Be still, and know that I am God," the Psalmist counsels (46:10). And in one of her poems, Mary Baker Eddy assured, "Seeking and finding, with the angels sing:/ 'Lo, I am with you alway,' – watch and pray" ("Poems," p. 4). Listening to and following this direction can make all the difference.
As we paddled back, I harvested the lesson of our seal watch. Seeing the seals had reminded me that the good I'm seeking is as ever present as God is. And we become conscious of the wholeness and allness of good and how it meets our specific needs as we get still and focus on God and His ever-presence.