December 2, 2022

Self-purification is a natural process of purifying, such as the ability of a body of water to rid itself of pollutants. Indeed, it was an amazing observation that I had as I watched the waves splash to and fro the ocean leaving sea stones and marine litters on the seashore. I was fascinated by how the sea naturally cleanses itself.
But looking at all these marine debris along the shore, I thought of how unfair the sea can be – that while it cleanses itself, it leaves its impurities along the bank. Nevertheless, while I was strolling around observing the surroundings, I saw some kids picking some pebbles and stacking them beautifully and artistically, which really awed me (I just read that the art is called cairn and it has spiritual meaning, too).
I was motivated to look further, and indeed I saw more marine litters turned into useful works of art and other practical items. Driftwood turned into benches, plant holders, artistic posts, and others. Then I saw piles of plant litters like dried leaves, sticks and twigs which I’m sure are being used by the residents as kindlers. All in all, the thought that came to my mind is that all these undesirable materials which the sea is getting rid of to maintain its purity have become useful for others.
Just like in my many silent moments, I was reflecting on some life’s lessons which the sea has just presented to me. If the sea were a human being and these pollutants were sins, is it also possible that we can turn our life’s impurities to something beautiful and useful?
As Christians, we were taught that as humans we are prone to sinning, hence, we must submit ourselves to some processes of purification such as meditation, confession (directly to God or through a medium), and the like.
As Christians, we are comforted by our faith that by sincerely doing so, our soul is back to its normal state. The lesson I got from the sea, however, is that, it did not stop by just simply purifying itself. It went further by bravely presenting its impurities to the people and allowing these to be of use to them. How many of us can courageously do that?
One reality that dawned on me, though, is people’s receptiveness and optimism towards sins. If some of the beach goers were not endowed with such gift of appreciation and did not see the usefulness of the sea stones, driftwoods, sticks and leaves scattered around, perhaps no work of art could have been made. If all people just considered these as garbage, there could be no lesson that I learned that day about the sea’s self-purification and reaching out to people for some appreciation despite its impurities.
I believe that in one’s journey towards self-purification, the community’s support is vital. How does the community treat these sinners and handle the sins once presented to them? Others merely feast on these stories and use them to corrupt others’ minds. Others simply do not care. Perhaps it can work better if we can also be these receptive and wise and who who choose to see goodness in such unpleasant events and use them to come up with beautiful masterpieces of life which can in turn touch people’s hearts. (JOCELYN I. ALIMMONDO)