I decided to respond to the Atlantic magazine’s recent survey. “Tell us: have you been part of a new religious movement,” https://www.theatlantic.com/notes/2017/08/new-religious-movement/534513/. I was trying to finish a poem about a visit to tide pools on the Pacific Coast, when I accidentally revisited a phase of my life in my notebooks of 1977. I saw how far I had fallen. It was the same year I was introduced to The Urantia Book. Along with the friendships I made in sharing the teachings, The UB saved my life. Like Jonah who sought “God and his goodness,” I was offered new possibilities for the future. “The evil circumstances of life will spew [disheartened souls] out upon the dry land of fresh opportunities for renewed service and wiser living." (130:1.2)
Soon after Chappell introduced me to The UB, she took me to Salmon Creek beach on the Sonoma Coast to show me the friendly universe she’d told me about. I knew these beaches well. In my early days traveling through California, looking for a place to live and play music, my friends and I had camped there. We’d written songs to the constellations, sung Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” around the campfire on the, “windy beach far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow,” danced “beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free, silhouetted by the sea.”
Here I was again, where sea meets sky and earth, with my new love. The incoming tide reflected billowing clouds where kelp forest and sea grass were washed flat by wave, whoosh and swirl. When the surge of tidewater paused and subsided, such moments of calm offered pictures of clarity in the many hued tide pools, where, like descending angels, the stars had left the wide open blue of empty sky to reincarnate as ochraceous starfish.
My soul mingled with the purple sea urchins, and scuttled with the hermit crabs dragging their borrowed shells, wiser ones hiding under shelves of stone or in waving tentacles of green anemones. I too had a shell like crab, too much like it, full of terror, hiding, protecting myself from the hurt, the reality, of being in love. A friend’s voice was singing to me, “let the seas rush in, let the sea gulls fly;” and I prayed that earth’s glory would meet my struggle for words to speak what this stumbling heart was feeling. Let there be a place for my devotion; may I find righteous deeds to do.
The tide washing in and out symbolized my old view of an impersonal universe. It represented the alternating conditions of good and evil where Good only randomly triumphed before Evil overcame it.
“The will of God is divine truth, living love; therefore are the perfecting creations of the evolutionary universes characterized by goodness—nearness to divinity … “ (3:6.2)
The UB saved my life, rescued me from the old reality that was not serving me well. In my volunteer work at the Family of God Foundation, I benefited from its teachings and learned to pray to a personal god, my Father.
Perhaps terror shows its face in nature, poses dangers in pounding surf, rip tides, and raging water. Yet sky, sea, beach, stars, fish, kelp combine to show me their true and beautiful intention, a loving panorama of the cosmos. In my deep mind, new possibilities were born for the future where I believed I had run out of opportunities and had none left. My life was about to change for the better.