I sit here comfied up in my bed with the laptop atop my lap, pondering what to post next. I started one place in my twisty brain which led nowhere good, then went down one rabbit trail to another. And suddenly I remembered something that happened to me two summers ago. I wrote about it on facebook back when it occurred & strangely can’t find it so I will try to remember & pen it properly.
I was at the beach with a friend – we’d been there most of the day & man, what a glorious day it was. The bliss was tangible as we sat in our chairs down by the water – a perfect way to stay cool & now my favorite spot to be when I go. My friend left me temporarily to go up to the store on the pier & I decided to people watch instead of closing my eyes. I am so glad I did.
A family had come up behind us & set up camp for the afternoon. They had a beach tent, coolers, toys, chairs – quite a haul. There were 4 of them – a young couple, their little girl, & what I assumed was the little girl’s granddaddy. He was a weathered looking man – brown skin like leather with numerous tattoos that had obviously been penned years ago & faded with time. He was wiry & thin, a little bent over with the years, & his face shone the deeply-lined markings of someone who had seen it all, bore it, & survived it – whatever it all was. As Mom & Dad set up shop, Papa walked hand-in-hand with the little girl down to the water to play. The waves would roll in & swirl around her sweet little feet & she would squeal with delightful terror & cling to his legs for dear life. He grabbed her up just in the nick of time as a big one came rolling in that would have surely engulfed her had he not – & he swung her up high. Her screeches mixed with the crashing waves & the seagulls is imbedded in my memory.
And then the thing that struck me the most – the look on his face as he spun her around. It was pure, unadulterated, magnified joy. Like he had never been happier than he was in that moment, there with her. Like he was free. Like all the hell he had faced in his life just disappeared away & yonder gone, into that great blue ocean.
As I watched, this overwhelming feeling of sadness just engulfed me. Flashes of loss rolled through me like the tide. It hit me that I didn’t have memories like that in my own life, from childhood. I lost a large part of it & my Dad to alcoholism & eventually as an adult to cancer. I also lost my sweet Mom to cancer, my oldest brother to suicide & nearly lost, many times, someone else I love very much to addiction. And the final wave of grief that I was facing head-on at the time – staring down the barrel of 10 months out of losing my marriage. It was all so heavy & nearly swept me away, the memories. They came flooding back on an instant-replay timeline from years back to present-day.
And then, right there in that chair on the shore that day, I heard God speak softly & over the waves to my heart, salve to my grief. I will never forget it. I’ve only heard Him this way just a few times but it’s always life-changing when it happens. He said “Bonnie, nothing is ever truly lost in Me.”
After I gathered myself & dried my tears, I began to process what He meant by that. It meant to me that He restores all things in His time, in His way. He lifts my head & carries my burdens when I lose something. And even the loss gets swallowed up in Him. With time, Love, Grace & Mercy, I gain something back. And I get to keep the sweetness of good memories. And I am able to lose forever the sting of the painful ones. Really lose it. I can tell you that’s what the bottom-depth of real freedom feels like for me.
I see that restoration unfolding in my life today. And in hopeful expectation, I envision much more to come. I can hardly wait.
I gratefully needed this reminder right now. Funny how that works.
Peace y’all.. ❤