Forget not all the sunshine of the way
By which the Lord hath led thee; answered prayers,
And joys unasked, strange blessings, lifted cares,
Grand promise echoes! Thus thy life shall be
One record of His love and faithfulness to thee.
-Francis Ridley Havergal
Last Thursday was the last of several days our family (translated, the 3 of us that still live on Hickory Lane) spent at the beach. Our plans were very last minute - this event is usually scheduled, booked, inked onto the calendar in late January, an annual tradition with my parents and whatever configuration of sons is available on the dates selected. This year, that plan was not to be. My mother's health continued to be very fragile, culminating in a diagnosis of liver cancer in March. Dad's subsequent stroke and memory loss unbalanced their coping strategies, so they moved to a personal care wing of a very fine retirement community. Thoughts of the annual beach trip disappeared under boxes of personal belongings as we prepared for their estate and property sale in early Sept. Then, abruptly one late August day, Max came home to announce he thought we should still plan a few days at the beach after the sale. It was a red-letter day...he is NOT the beach person in our house. There was much rejoicing. The reservation confirmation at "our" same hotel a few days later polished the apple of our joy. We anticipated being where our feet were...in the sand.
We had three warm, sun saturated days sandwiched between Hurricane Lee and a cold front. (Our traditional dates would have fallen during the week of the hurricane.)
Thursday's weather forecast promised thunderstorms at 9, 11, and 1. When we were still on the beach at 3:30 (a bit beyond our supposed departure time) a crackin' thunderstorm sent us scurrying to the showers.
This picture says "answered prayer" on many levels, most of which I won't go into here. Let me just say that IN the ocean is one of the rare places where Youngest Mystery can live his exuberance at full throttle. Also, see that rash guard shirt? Answered prayer. We bought it Wed. evening on the boardwalk (end of season sales are great!) and he couldn't wait to wear it the next morning. Big problem. No shirt. We looked everywhere in our room, unpacked all the bags, stripped the beds...No shirt. I breathed a prayer. "Jesus, you know where that shirt is. Help." When I returned the key at check out, it suddenly(?!) occurred to me to ask about the Lost and Found. Housekeeping was unavailable. Sigh. But wait, the receptionist seemed also to suddenly(?!) think of another option. A minute later, smiling, she handed me the shirt, new tags still intact. The note attached to it said,"Found by the pool gate last evening." I breathed my thanks upward.
Joys unasked: you know those unnecessary pluses that move a day into the memorable category. Example: Finding a new coffee shop 3 doors down from our hotel brightened up my morning. (The morning before, I walked blocks until I found an iced coffee at 2pm...memorable for all the wrong reasons.) Other strange blessings - hotel restaurant takeout, one legged sandpiper, surf shirt #2, for Dad, even cheaper than shirt #1, family rules such as "we golf in the mornings," broken shells that shimmer with color and light and beauty.)
Whenever we go on vacation, it usually takes me part of a day or two to remember that whatever we are at home we are on vacation as well, only more so. So, we bring a lot of "stuff" along; we simply have our meltdowns and issues in a new venue. During my walk, latte in hand, I wanted to think through what I had chosen as my "daily hum" and be more intentional about laying down my anxieties in God's presence. I hum, hum, hummed my way along the foamy edges. I stopped and listened to me in the spirit of "give me this day my daily hum..." and this one was not the one I had chosen. Instead, it was an old children's chorus, "God will make a way," and I realized it was time again to chose to live this reality. "God will make a way when there seems to be no way, He works in ways I cannot see, He will make a way for me....with love and strength for each new day, He will make a way, God will make a way.