Reflections on “Occurrence” by the artist



Reflection: Amidst the blue-green of the ocean and white caps, a seagull brings one’s focus to his investigation along the white sands…the notice goes both ways.

An individual seagull takes notice of something on the sand, and goes to explore. It is an occurrence, an event, an occasion, something that happens with an object being the discovery. Our attention is drawn to the object, perhaps asking “what is it?”.

In the Bible, the definition of manna, the bread of heaven, is “what is it?”. Manna was the provision by God of a substance that appeared fresh each day (except the Sabbath) on the ground, and that was gathered to make food and be the source of sustenance to the wondering Jewish people in the wilderness.

Each day has its occurrences where, if we are willing to look for God, we discover that He provides daily.

A seagull, in discovery of something on the sand, also becomes aware of his surroundings, of perhaps an onlooker. We sense the alertness in the seagull’s eye. He spots something while, at the same time, becoming attentive to being watched, perhaps challenged, maybe accompanied – but nonetheless, aware that he is not alone. It’s an occurrence, a circumstance in time, a contingency, a juncture, an instant that deserves recognition and acknowledgement, a moment of significance.

The significance, we ask? It is not a moment that the seagull created. Like our relationship with our Creator, it was initiated by God as we were searching. Perhaps we didn’t know “what is it?” that we were looking for, but in so doing, God promises we will find Him.

Deuteronomy 4:29 “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you look for Him with all your heart and with all your soul”.

Jeremiah 29: 12-14 “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart”.

Matthew 7:7 ” Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you”.

What can we experience in watching a seagull? I love watching them on the shore and in the air. At the beach and in the water they appear. Out of nowhere they can suddenly appear.

And when they arrive, I enjoy a quiet, two-way communication, so to speak. I am mindful of them, and they are taking notice of me. To me, this occurrence is symbolic of prayer.

In prayer, we are speaking to God, and at some point, we realize he has shown up and our prayer has been answered. It may not be exactly what we asked for or expected, we may wait a long time, but we know when we see the answer. What is it? It is His provision in which we can place our Hope.

“Occurrence” (pictured above as a Deluxe Print) is available at www.BegleyArt

Our next week’s blog: “Notice and Focus” – An Interview with Sara Smith, Massage Therapist, sharing her reflections on the painting




  1. John Williams

    It is a good picture in that the seagull is not shown as flying, or seeking food or standing—but he is caught in a moment of thinking and reflecting. Yes, he is responding to something he has noticed that has taken him away from the object on the sand. To compare this to and see it as a symbolic representation of prayer is very profound. We must take notice and become aware that God is communicating with us. If we don’t seek that communication with God, we may be shutting out his voice in our heart, mind and life. The contrast in the waters colors very nicely reflects the intensity of light on the deep water in the background and on the shallow water near the shore. I like the painting.

    • May I quote you when you say “we must take notice and become aware that God is communicating with us. If we don’t seek that communication with God, we may be shutting out his voice in our heart, mind and life” as I love how beautifully you have stated this truth. Like the waves that constantly approach the shore, His voice is there; we need to seek Him with our heart, soul and mind. Just today, I am challenged in my daily devotional to “try (prayer) as an ongoing conversation where you look for God in every moment – at work, school, home, shopping, or socializing”. Thank you for voicing your thoughts on this artwork.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *