|Clouds quietly build in the afternoon sky, haze at sunset hides the horizon and signals that the storm is close. Wind casts the waves onto the shore.
And the waves, they grab the sand, as if trying to escape the inevitable return to the deep. Then slowly, they slide back, as new row of waves attempts the same feat. In the evening their resolve to climb the shore to its summit is apparent. And the tide comes in.
As he searches for unusual shells, I find a dress on sale and take it to the register.
“This is not marked ‘on-sale’ but it was on the sale rack,” I begin, “is it the same price as the others?”
With a heavy accent that smothers his broken English, he asks me to tell him the price.
To my delight he charges me the price I quoted from the rack! Then placing the dress in a colorful bag reserved for expensive purchases, he smiles and hands me the bag.
Really looking at him, I am seeing past his ruddy olive skin and hair the color of ink. I look at his eyes. There is something…
From a gold chain, a small Star of David leans toward his heart.
“Are you from Israel?” I extend my arm to grasp the handles of my new treasure.
“Yes, I am here – two months.”
Now my curiosity is roused. “ Are you here on vacation?”
“I visit daughter – this time each year- help with shop.” He replies in broken English.
He continues his story. He had another who lived in Destin, but had died several years ago, on the 29th of March. Each year he returns to this area, a pilgrimage to remember and pay tribute to her life.
“I’m so sorry for you loss”, I whisper. I feel like I am in a sacred place with him and maybe I should not be here.
His eyes tear and he holds his chest trying to find the words.
I step toward the counter, “I know, your heart…your heart breaks still.”
Emotions are battering his heart, like wind driven waves against the shore outside. Driven by a storm that is not ready to be still – grasping to hold onto something that cannot be held. And the sorrow has hazed his horizon.
“I love that you come and celebrate her life each year; that is beautiful,” again my voice is a soft breathe of words.
I want to say something more. I want to remove his sorrow; I want to tell him about Christ walking on water and calming the storm, and that He can calm the sea of sorrow in that breaking heart. But no words come.
Doc walks up with his shell collection and smiles, greeting both of us.
As we walk out the door, I turn around and look at the man. He is watching us leave.
I gently wave, “Toda, Shalom” (thank you, peace)
He nods and smiles, “Shalom”
Saint Frances of Assisi once wrote,
“Preach the Gospel at all times, use words if necessary.”
We return back through the wind and surf, with my mind whirling, wondering if I had done all, or said all that was needed.
I may never know, this side of heaven.
Sometimes, it is not about preaching the Word that is important; it is about showing the love. It is about becoming less about yourself and more about what God is doing around you.
Doc puts his arm around me and pulls me closer as we walk through the waves crashing onto the shore.
Loud laughter comes from the mudroom. Leaning back from the sink I see the Grands playing around the pet carrier.
On an inspiration of exploration, the Two-Year old has crawled into the cage, the one year old is laughing loudly because she has closed the door to the cage.
She, who has no words to express humor, fully understands humor! I marvel at her.
She is aware that I am observing in silence, and begins bang her hand on the cage. Stopping to see my reaction, she laughs and bangs once more.
The two-year old seems content to lie back on the blankets and daydream of being a cat in a cage.
I am now on the floor making cat and dog sounds with them, when we hear my daughter, their mother enters into the house from shopping.
Quickly brushing off any evidence of being in the forbidden area, we run to kitchen and grab cookies.
What happens at Gigi’s stays at Gigi’s!
I am at the beach this week. Typing from a roof top over looking the Gulf of Mexico. Looking at all of these young college girls walking up and down in their bikinis. I use to look like that, flat stomach and thin thighs, and I know it was not that long ago!
This year for the first time I am feeling like I am over thirty. My great-aunt when in her eighties, said she didn’t feel much older than she did in her forties, just moving a little slower.
I know what she was saying about moving slower, hips stiffening, knees and back aching and such. So I went to a yoga class here.
Stretching and bending, you would be proud of me; I did pretty well! Or so I thought until I saw one of the young ones, she lifts her legs, and her head, to fold herself in half. Then she “rests” her heals on the back of her neck.
I felt like standing up and spinning her like a top. I would love to see the look on her face when this slightly grayed woman jumps up and gives her a whirl!
And the gray…what is that all about?? Just when I decide to let my hair go back to it’s natural brown color, then this white stiff comes in…like it is proud to be here. It jumps up front and begins to grow in Cruella DeVill style! Now I am going to have to begin bleaching my hair again to make it all blend together!
I’m in my fifties, and I plan on making it a lot longer than this! Getting old stinks!
Wrestling with these thoughts in the night, as I am not sleeping because of the tropical summer that plaques me year ‘round, I think of the Proverbs 31 woman.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the later days. Proverbs 31:25
Seriously? What is there to smile about? Did they not have hot flashes or midlife spread, aching hips and knees in those days?
I look up gray hair in the Bible.
They talk about gray hair being a crown of glory for a man. Proverbs 16:31
I guess they know better than to tell a woman that she has gray hair. She might give you a look that will make you run for cover.
Is anyone else having a problem coming to terms with her age?
I ask the Lord to instruct me about this phase of my life. What is there to smile about?
Slowly in the quite of the rooftop, images come to mind.
Raising children as a single mother, the good and bad of those days; and they bless me with their words, they give me joy, living he life of one who accepts Christ into their heart and life.
Marrying a man with two children – bringing experience of parenting, to partner with his wisdom.
Learning to speak life to daughters who are now young women.
Showing the sons who are now young men how Christian women are to live in submission and partnership with their husbands.
Living with authenticity with the family, which means allowing them to see my imperfections, seeing what angers me; how I can stick to my guns when I right, and apologize when I am wrong.
Invisible is the hand of God that has fashioned me for these days.
Perhaps, this is what the woman in proverbs is smiling about. She has lived her life well, working all that the Lord has placed in front of her, to the best of her ability.
I lean back in my chase lounge, soaking in some sun on my aging skin, hoping for the sun to lick my hair lighter… and I smile.
At first glance it seems trivial, just some dumb Spider webs. Walking around trying to photograph the fog on water, I begin to see more and more spider webs – they are everywhere!
This is how God speaks to me. He repeats and repeats, calling me, until I look up and remember that He is present and speaking.
Looking for Christ in Everyday Life is a challenging statement to put before people. I look for Him, and some days there is a profound revelation of His truth. More times than not, it is more like a child walking in a garden, with the father saying, “Look, see? Did you know, I made this for you? Come and walk with me.”
Today He is speaking and the cobwebs are His work of art that signals His presence.
I don’t know what the message is right away, but I recognize His style, so I begin snapping pictures of spider webs, and listening.
And the spider, she casts her net across the ground and dwells deep within it’s spin.
Water pellets and Flower petals crown her home with beauty.
Her inheritance to this world she holds beneath her belly to straddle as she walks. They will not leave her until the day of departure arrives. And she weaves on.
God is speaking.
I am amazed at the beauty before me. I marvel at my God who teaches the spiders to weave. Each weave a little different, yet a community of weavers creating their dwelling place.
I think about how the spider, like me, has created beauty in our home. I crochet, I decorate with flowers, and I collect sparkly things to catch the light around the house. So does she.
Despite the concern that I sound like a 60’s flower child, I do feel a connection to all that God has made.
I marvel at His genius creativity. Seeing the eye He has for the details of his work, and words rest silent inside of me. His world is so beautiful.
Words to an old hymn come to mind.
Oh, Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder, consider all the world thy hand has made…
If He has worked out so many details for the spider, who is here one season and gone the next, how much more important are the details of my life to Him?
Walking silently now, in awe of the beauty before me.
Humbled that I am called by name, called His child, called to look and see the display of His splendor in a Spider’s Web.
O Lord, our Lord,
How majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
Above the heavens.
From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
you put everything under his feet:
all flocks and herds,
and the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air,
and the fish of the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
They stand, staring at the camera, eyes with sadness, sometimes anger that comes from deep within. Arms, legs, are twig thin and bellies swollen, paradoxically, from lack of food.